by Sunday Saanu
Indeed, the new School of Business offers opportunities in academic and professional Masters of Business Administrations for both full-time and part-time MBA candidates. It also offers short-term certificate courses as well as specific courses that meet special needs within the private and public sectors.
University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria’s Premier University is thinking out of the box. The 65-year old institution is becoming more creative in order to effectively blend with the current trend in this knowledge driven global economy. In being creative, the university is beginning to take a second look at most of its courses that have been in existence since 1948 when the university was established in relation with the modern demands.
It was George Kneller, author of Existentialism and Education who noted that “creativity consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted”. This is exactly the scenario in UI. Many things that had hitherto been taken for granted are now receiving serious intellectual interrogation with a view to conforming to the contemporary needs.
The recently created and inaugurated University of Ibadan School of Business (UISB), where regular and contemporary, short-time courses, customized workshops, consultancy and research for various organizations and companies will be in the offering is one of the fall outs of a new vision. It is on record that UI is reputed for teaching only Economics in the area of business and commercial studies even when younger universities are offering Accountancy, Banking and Finance, Business Administration among others. Many candidates who would have loved to have their First Degree in UI have gone to other universities simply because their preferred courses of study are not available in the University of their First Choice (UI)
However, with the new UISB, headed by a first class Professor of Economics, Prof. Ademola Ariyo who is the Board Chairman, and the First Female Professor of Computer Science/Economics in Africa, Prof. Adenike Osofisan as the Director, a paradigm shift that will provide and build leadership for current business challenges has berthed in Ibadan. The philosophy of the UISB is to provide an education that will satisfy today’s public and private economic requirements. It offers a platform for post-experience learning, as well as exposure to the use of basic economic, management, and technical tools intertwined with case studies. The teaching and learning process will according to the mandate, be delivered in the open, distant and blended modes. This is with a view to ensuring that learning is nurtured in a flexible and versatile manner. The real life intervention by students will be encouraged to develop problem solving capacities and capabilities.
Indeed, the new School of Business offers opportunities in academic and professional Masters of Business Administrations for both full-time and part-time MBA candidates. It also offers short-term certificate courses as well as specific courses that meet special needs within the private and public sectors. The school therefore intends to collaborate with both private and public sectors of the African economy to solve both management and leadership problems.
Since what one earns, in today’s knowledge based economy, depends largely on what one learns, the UISB has also determined to run short term programmes targeted at corporate and working professionals to upgrade knowledge and professional skills in order to avoid obsolescence in this highly dynamic technological world. Certainly, every activity of the school will be information technology driven.
Of course, before getting to this stage, the university, being meticulous as it is, had sent members of the school implementation committee to five selected Business schools in the United Kingdom and the United States of America for a study tour. The committee visited London Business School, Columbia Business School, New York and Kellogg Business School, North-Western University, Chicago. They also visited Howard University Business School and University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA.
The intention was to ensure that the best global practices in Business education are made available in Nigeria. Besides, as they say, “knowledge is a mimic creation, not even when Thomas Edison has counseled that there is always a way to do it better if only one can find it. The University of Ibadan has seemingly found a way of running a school of Business with the forms and structures that are enviably made available. Already, the university has set aside a whopping N350 million for the initial take off. After about six decades of its existence, the management of the university felt it was high time the institution extends its rich intellectual heritage towards the growth and development of a virile, private sector, not only in Nigeria, but also the whole of Africa.
This, the university intends to achieve through supply of new breed, first rate economic policy, and corporate managers, as well as entrepreneurs that are able and willing to ensure the accelerated development of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, under the auspices of a private sector driven policy framework. This, it seeks to achieve through the offering of internationally competitive programmes and products in business education, research and management. From available facts, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole richly deserves public commendation for his enthusiasm in ensuring that the UISB takes off. Prof. Adewole who believes that other people must light their candle from the knowledge base of the university has always been saying that Ibadan must keep adding value to the society. Inaugurating the UISB Board recently in Lagos, the VC who called on private sector players to key into the new vision.
Although there is still a long distant to destination as billions of Naira required to build main building, library, lecture theatre as well as other external works remain elusive, short time programmes and consultancy as well as research for willing organizations and companies have begun in earnest. Pioneering staff members of the UISB including Mr. Lucky Igonor deserve kudos for their commitment and sacrifice in laying the foundation for the new School of Business under the supervision of the “Iron Lady”, Prof. Osofisan, the Director. It might not be too much to provide a Business School that meets international standard. There is no point travelling abroad for a course that could be taken in Nigeria. If the standard is solid, the growing intelligence gap will be filled as the boundaries of human knowledge gets expanded towards uplifting the society.
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