The Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, has stressed the need for scholars to network and exchange ideas as part of efforts to promote intellectual discourse. He stated this during the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Commonwealth of Nations by the Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria, (COFSAN) FUTA Chapter. Professor Fuwape said the theme of the 2019 celebration titled “A Connected Commonwealth” is timely as it underscores the importance of working together in unity to achieve goals for the benefit of all countries in the commonwealth through a common charter. He said that commonwealth scholarships which are funded by the government of the United Kingdom gives scholars and fellows the unique opportunity to network with a diverse range of talented people around the commonwealth. The Vice chancellor pointed out that the scholarships and fellowships serve to broaden horizons, adding that values gained during the scholarship program have overtime benefitted member countries. Fuwape admonished members of COSFAN to bring their experiences to bear on value addition in learning and research in FUTA.
Speaking at the event, Professor Oyedepo Fagbenro , said that scholars and fellows of the Commonwealth work together at many levels through various deep rooted networks that are sustainable and inclusive. He said Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships have prospects and opportunities which include flexibility, shared experiences through staff exchange programmes, intellectual achievement, human development, mobility opportunities and infrastructural support. He said countries in the Commonwealth of Nations work together to protect individual interests of members and support each other through various connections such as politics, economy, education, sports, literature, trade and culture through operating institutions which include the British Council, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) and the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CCSFP).
Another speaker, Professor Bayo Aborisade speaking on the Education and the challenges of underfunding said Nigerian tertiary institutions are in dire straits on account of underfunding.
He said any country that wants to develop must heavily invest in education and entrepreneurship to train its youth, thus generation of additional funds as alternative to Government funding is thereby imperative. Aborisade highlighted alternatives to government funding to include, inward looking planning strategies, seeking out high level donors and alumni and commercialization of research findings. He also pointed out that expenditure on municipal services must be unscaled stressing that institutions must deliberately push themselves up the ranking ladder by being proactive and innovative in learning and research.
Earlier in his remarks, the convener of the event, Professor Ganiyu Oboh said FUTA is home to a number of commonwealth scholars and the sole purpose of coming together is to network and brainstorm on how to move the University forward.He said the connection will in the long term solve community problems with far reaching positive effects on the continent.