You-Lead Africa gives Bowen students N1.6m grant for developing mobile app

You-Lead Africa, a non-governmental organisation under Dotam Group established to promote the growth of entrepreneurs in the country, has offered Bowen University students a sum of N1.6million grant to complete their mobile app solution research for public use.

Speaking at the Entrepreneurship  Conference organised by the benefactor company, held at Landmark  Towers, Lagos, recently,  the project coordinator of the body, Mrs Ozioma Okafor described Bowen University entrepreneurial education and skill development curriculum as effective and necessary to make students self-sufficient and relevant even at the global economy.

She expressed satisfaction with the high level the university exposed its students to problem-solving entrepreneurship education.

According to her, the grant was released to help the students complete their projects for public use as soon as possible, as she urged stakeholders to invest in student entrepreneurship projects to reduce the rate of unemployment while solving societal problems.

One of the beneficiaries of the grant, Joshua Ajulo, a 100L  student of the Religious Studies Programme in the university,  was given N1 million grant to complete his e-commerce mobile app, designed to address price irregularity and extortion culture among vendors on the campus. The app, he said would also help the university to generate not less than  N5millon monthly. 

Also, Oliseh Evans Chukwunenye’s group got a N.6million grant to complete their mobile app services designed to control Bikes and other activities on the campus. According to them, it would be ready for use within six months.

The beneficiaries of the grants attributed their success story to the entrepreneurial education that the university has exposed them to as a compulsory course of study on the campus, where experts in different professions were asked to train students on the rudiments of entrepreneurship.

Prince Usman Hamzat, the chairman of Ifako-Ijaye local government in Lagos, during the presentation ceremony, commended the efforts of the Bowen students and the university management in the pursuit of entrepreneurship. He encouraged the students not to rest on their laurels, but press forward to break new grounds.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Ogunwole highlighted how godliness drives excellence in the university, and how it aligns with the values of You-Lead Africa organization. He emphasized the need for a strategic partnership to ensure that Bowen students get access to funds and mentorship to bring their ideas to reality. He encouraged participants to always pursue value addition wherever they find themselves.


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Entrepreneurial education should surpass shoemaking, tie-dye in varsity ― Bowen VC

The Vice-Chancellor, Bowen University, Iwo, Professor Joshua Ogunwole has said that entrepreneurial education should surpass skill acquisition of shoemaking, tie-dye and other related vocations in the university.

Speaking at a lecture delivered by Professor Adebisi Adebowale, which was organized by the university, scheduled to mark the 20th anniversary of the institution held recently, Professor Ogunwole declared that an ideal entrepreneurial education for undergraduates should be more of digital education and soft skills empowerment.

According to him, entrepreneurial education at Bowen University, designed for undergraduates across all the colleges in the institution, is technological driven, which he said has made the Bowen graduates be self-sufficient and relevant in this 21st-century technological world. He added that skill acquisition of shoemaking, tie-dye and other related vocations should be meant for college of education students and not for university undergraduates.

The Vice-Chancellor in his address at the occasion, also, reemphasised that no private university that uses a public university’s template to run its academic and administrative programmes would survive in an ideal university system.

He noted that university education in this 21st century does not support the traditional /conventional method of managing the university system by reason of its failure to prepare students for tomorrow’s needs in society.

He said: “ At Bowen University, we deploy technology to execute academic and administrative activities, while our entrepreneur education is majorly in the area of digital and soft skill education.

“To meet the world-class standard, we are investing more in technology development, such that our entrance examination will be internet facilitated.

“In this regard, candidates can write our entrance examination at home, as we put in place online effective invigilators that will control examination malpractices while the examination last.

“Moreover, as an effort to cut away from the conventional curriculum, we are consolidating our technology endowment for professors in Diaspora to teach in Bowen University right from their various universities abroad.

“If we want to survive in the next generation to come, we must be at the cutting edge of the latest technologies for teaching and research in order to move the university forward.”

Speaking about the university community service to its neighbouring and host community, Professor Ogunwole assured the royal fathers that the university has put in place strategies to boost the economy of the cities soonest.

The visitor to the university and President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev, Dr Israel Akanji, eulogized the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ogunwole and his team for their efforts to move the university forward. He assured the university of the readiness of the convention to support the institution financially.

The Oluwo of Iwo land, His Majesty, Oba Abdul- Rasheed Telu 1, pledged his supports towards the physical expansion of the university in the city. He expressed satisfaction with the policy and management style of the present leadership of the university.

He asserted that Bowen University is a blessing not only to Iwo community but also to Nigeria as a whole.

According to him, Iwo has enough land for Bowen’s expansion. He promised to protect the interest of the university in the town, as he added that his palace would appreciate a mutual relationship between the office of the Vice-Chancellor and the Iwo community.

Speaking in retrospect while delivering the20th anniversary lecture of the institution, former Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the university, Professor Adebisi Adebowale, attributed the 20 years of existence of Bowen University to successive good leaderships of the institution who were able to build on the solid foundation upon which the institution was established in 2001.

He noted that the university’s wide curriculum, known as Godliness, Excellence and leadership has been the driving force that kept the Bowen university functioning to be at par with other first-class universities not only in Nigeria but also in other parts of the world.

He then appealed to the present administration not to rent in their efforts to project the university to a greater height even at the global level, as they maintain and upgrade the core value of the university.


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How Poverty, Food Insecurity Can Be Tackled In Nigeria, by Don

A university don, Prof. Foluke Aderemi   has canvassed for an optimum agricultural production level  to tackle poverty and food insecurity in the country.Prof.  Aderemi, who is of the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, stated this during the sixth inaugural lecture at the university.The professor , who lamented the escalating level of poverty in the country, stressed the need for the youth to embrace agriculture as a course of study.

She  maintained that  with agriculture, the youth could be job creators rather than being job seekers.She said:”The escalating problem of poverty has become of increasing concern to both the victim nations as well as the international development partners. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2017), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, 2017) and the World Food Programme (WFP, 2017) have reported that the largest proportion of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa are highly undernourished.“The magnitude of poverty in developing countries had contributed immensely to food insecurity in the nation. Nigeria has 36 states and is the most populous country in Africa with a population of about 170 million as of 2012 (Population 2012) with over 70 per cent of the population living on less than a dollar a day (Watts 2006). By the year 2050 the projected population will be 402 million making Nigeria the 4th most populous country on earth after India, China and the United States (Population 2012).

“Agriculture as a course is self-sufficient our youth can take the advantage and become job creator instead of seeking for jobs. We all know in this nation it is not so the simple reason is lack of enabling facilities and environment. Only an optimum agricultural production level will be able to help alleviate poverty, provide food security and meet other needs of such a growing population.“As Nigeria struggles to advance in animal and crop production many factors militate against this   in the country. Factors like inadequate finance, high cost of animal feeds, animal diseases, lack of infrastructure, lack of government incentives, transportation and other factors are militating against animal production in Nigeria. However, solving these problems will promote the animal and crop production.“The failed policies of the government are most of the times inimical to the progress of the animal industry. Sometimes politicians ban the importation of goods not readily available in the country in an attempt to help home grown industries but without providing viable alternatives”.She added  that another important area where the government has failed is in the area of security, saying, ” Insecurity in the country is inimical to the development of the animal production and its sustainability and this must not be taken lightly as it has the potential to ground the whole economy”.End.

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Technology Application Will Enhance Learning In Tertiary Institutions – VC

Prof. Joshua Ogunwole, has spoken on how Bowen is building on its cardinal principles to drive entrepreneurship and technology innovation among students.

He shared this and more with Emma Okonji of This Day Newspaper and Dustan Aghedo of Leadership Newspaper who were at an interview session with him. Here are the excerpts:

What are the cardinal principles of the university and how have they helped in achieving its goals?

The principles on which the university is built are enumerated in our core values, which include Godliness, Excellence, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Social Responsibility.   So the university runs on these cardinal principles and management tries as much as possible to instill these core values into our students. The motto of the university is Excellence and Godliness and this motto is actually driving us to achieve excellence in our pursuit for education, while being Godly in the process. The founding fathers of the university built it on the foundation of Excellence and Godliness and we are maintaining that legacy and we have won laurels through that standard. So, every Wednesday, we celebrate Excellence and Godliness on campus. We do that to motivate the students and to let them know that academic excellence can only be achieved and maintained on the foundation of Christ the King.

How is the university preparing the students in line with modern day jobs that are technology driven?

As a Christian university whose core values are built on Excellence and Godliness, we strongly believe in entrepreneurship and we teach our students entrepreneurial skills that will help them fit very well into the labor market by the time they graduate. We position them for tomorrow and help them to achieve their dreams through entrepreneurial skills acquisition. It is all about developing ideas that will address present and future challenges. Today technology is evolving because of innovation and we see innovation as critical to bring out the best in our students. In all of these, we ensure that our students are responsible to the society they live in, by empowering them with social responsibility skills, which is also one of our core values.

How has the university leveraged on technology to impact learning among students?

We are aware that technology is evolving and it comes with lots of advantages in a teaching and learning environment like the school system, and we are taking those advantages into cognizance in developing our students. For us, the application of technology is critical to bring out the best in students. We have used technology to redefine the way students study on campus and it is helping the students and the lecturers to achieve more. Under my watch in Bowen University, I will ensure that the students have learning facilities that are driven by modern technology and I will allow the students to have access to modern technology tools, including smart phones that are android based. This is because I have since come to realize that we must promote technology among the students to able them learn faster. The fact is that this current generation of students are tech savvy and our teaching methodology must take cognizance of that to bring them up to speed in the learning process. The present generation of students do research with their technology devices that are connected to the Internet and they prefer reading information on their devices, than going to read same information on any notice board on campus. So we understand all of these and we are leveraging technology to enhance learning.

How are the students effectively managing technology devices in such a way that the devices are not used for the wrong motives?

Some adults used to think that the present generation of students are not serious with their studies, unlike students of previous generations that do not condole distractions, but the truth is that technology devices are no longer distraction to studies among the present generation of students. This is because the devices have become enabler to academic research and development. The way this young generation of students think and act, is quite different from the thinking line of the older generation. The present generation of students are fast in thinking and they want to achieve things much faster, and the technology devices are enablers in achieving faster results. So instead of thinking that the students will use technology devices for the wrong motives, I will want people to realize that we are in the technology age where technology devices enhance teaching and learning. In Bowen University, we are developing our students in line with technology evolution. For instance, as from next academic session, the university authority has decided to put all lecture notes into a software application that will enable students read lecture notes from their technology devices, including mobile phones and tablets. This will further boost learning among the students.

How does the university spur students’ reading habit on entrepreneurship?

We do that in several ways. For instance, the school authority recently wrote a cheque of N900,000  to buy copies of entrepreneurship books for our students in order to develop their entrepreneurial thinking and skills. So we approached the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia who is a successful entrepreneur, to buy copies of his recent book on entrepreneurship, titled ‘Africa Rise And Shine’ But to our greatest surprise, Jim Ovia gladly gave us 100 copies of the book at no cost and he told us to keep our money. We are the first university to make such request for our students, and the author of the book was happy to give students copies of his book at no cost. So what we did was to share the books among 400 level students of the university and asked each student to read two chapters of the book each day and after that, we bring them together each day on our WhatsApp platform to discuss and share ideas on what they learnt from the chapters of the book. The discussions were carried out on the social media platform, which is the WhatsApp group platform that was created for students by the school authority. We were amazed with the high quality discussions on entrepreneurship that came out from the WhatsApp discussions.

So learning and teaching methodology are changing with technology evolution and if other universities still think they will use the same old methodology that was used decades ago to teach their present generation of students, then they are missing the point, because technology is fast driving and changing academic activities of the present generation of students called the millennials who are digital natives and tech savvy.

At Bowen University, we have gone to the extent of teaching entrepreneurship skills on video and play the video in the classrooms before the students, and through this method, the students learn faster because they are able to interact and argue academically beyond the old method of teaching where the lecturer talks and the students accept everything without making their own input.

Do you have plans to have a technology hub that will enhance virtual leaning among students?

We are working towards achieving virtual teaching and learning so that anybody from any location within or outside the country can teach students on a real-time basis. With virtual learning, we will be creating a technology-based school environment. We are currently talking with friends of Bowen University to support the university in building a technology hub for the university that will enhance virtual learning among our students. Through our technology hub, we will incubate great minds and turn their laudable dreams into reality and that is where the world is moving to, through technology advancement. We are also in partnership with science-based organizations within and outside the country that will help us achieve our vision as an academic institution of excellence and high repute.

What are the motives behind the entrepreneurship and innovation week that the university is organizing this week on campus?

This is a maiden event for the university and we are going to make it an annual event, going forward. We are planning it big and we are using technology to drive it. The focus is to develop the entrepreneurial skills of the students, irrespective of their disciplines, which is one of our core values as an academic institution. It will expose students to various skills learning in the areas of textile design, fashion design, cinematography, robotics, cosmetics, events planning, among others and all these will be driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The one-week long event will feature talks and practical learning in entrepreneurship and technology innovation, and the idea is to build the competence of students outside of their course work in the university.

We have decided to divide the entire university into five entrepreneurship clusters and each cluster will be made of students from various disciplines with common interest for entrepreneurial skills acquisition. They will identify the cluster that best matches their interest and the cluster manager registers them and allows them to pick their team leaders.

They will brainstorm on how to develop a company, what it takes to own a company after university education and how to sustain and grow the company. So it’s going to be self learning process under the guidance of cluster managers who are successful entrepreneurs. This is the way to teach this young generation of students, using technology and innovation to develop their innate abilities to enable them learn faster. If we teach them the same way we were thought decades ago, then we will be missing it.

What does the university want to achieve with the entrepreneurship and innovation week?

We want to achieve mastery of skills among the students and at the same time, raise students who will graduate to become entrepreneurs, who will create jobs for themselves and for others who will be employed by them. We are using it to prepare our students for the job market that is ahead of them so that as soon as they graduate from the university, they will not populate the number of job seekers, but will instead, populate number of employed Nigerians.

There is a disconnect between university graduates and the industry. Most times the industry players have to retrain young university graduates to cope with the required industry skills. What are you doing to address this?

We are very much aware of industry demands and we at Bowen University are teaching our students with modern curriculum that will help them acquire skills that are required for the present and future jobs. The American universities have been able to perfect marriage between their students and key industry organizations known as Fortune 500, and this has helped them to do a lot in the area of research. We are aware of all these and we are doing same to fully equip our students with the realities and demands of the industry. Immediately our administration came on board, we identified the industry needs and immediately stepped into action to achieve these needs for the students while they are still under our care. What we did was to go to Lagos to partner key organizations to understand their needs and to tell them of our challenges and to see how we can partner to better the lots of the students as they are leaving the university. The partnership is such that the organizations will send their staff to us to interact with students and identify ways that they could be of help to the university in addressing the disconnect between the universities and industry demands. So we are spending more time to change all of that and to change the old record of Bowen University, in terms of modern skills acquisition among this young generation of students.

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Bowen’s Core Values Form The Basis Of University Education – VC

In a chat with Kehinde Adio of the Nigerian Tribune, Professor Joshua Ogunwole sheds light on the ongoing transformation and restructuring efforts in Bowen University, the new technology-driven strategy on security and education, and other innovative agenda to move the institution forward. Here are the excerpts:

Tell us about the restructuring going on at Bowen University?

Bowen is passing through a restructuring phase right now and the restructuring is beginning to have a face. For instance, we are looking at the university that will be purely technology-driven. Currently, we are building a 288-bed hostel, which will be the first smart hostel ever to exist in any Nigerian university.  The new hostel will be digitally controlled. We are also going to create an environment that talks and speaks technology. The more of technology this generation of students see, the more you can exploit their mindset so they can think in that path way.  Recently, our students came together with some university’s staff to address the issue of improving on the security situation on campus.  What they did was to build a security application on a cell phone to monitor the movement of people on the campus.

In other area of infrastructure, we are doing a pedagogy swift from the usual way lectures are being delivered. We cannot teach this generation the same way we were taught.  This is a generation that is digital savvy. We must understand that teaching and learning is now digital-based. For instance, when we were younger, we were just revolving around our parents. The way we learnt then was though story-telling, which graduated to reading story books and hard copy books. We don’t expect this generation to go through the same old method of trainings.  The generation has moved from such learning procedure.

How much of attention are you putting into improving teaching, research and community service in the university?

Bowen will no longer engage students in a traditional teaching method of facing the lecturer and the board; rather, we are having a new classroom sitting arrangement that will promote group learning. This is part of our innovation agenda to move the university forward.  In addition, we want to make our indigenous knowledge relevant in the science world by adding value to them; this is the new direction for research work.  We want to develop our indigenous knowledge for nation building. In China, indigenous knowledge development is prioritised; some foreigners even come to Nigeria to spy our indigenous knowledge and profiteer it. We want to identify all our indigenous pieces of knowledge and covert them through science.

For instance, in Africa, we use hens to identify edible mushrooms. This could be very alien to the western world. We have many of this type of knowledge that we can invest in and develop to distinguish ourselves as an independent country that adds value to the global world. Nigeria has numerous indigenous resources. We are breaking this into chains and subjects and we are putting sizeable money into research coverage, starting next academic year in September.

On community service efforts, we are very responsive to our immediate communities. In the first instance, we offer scholarship to indigent but brilliant students from the neighboring communities. We have engaged in roads grading in those communities.

Also, the university engaged the students in organising free Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and SSCE coaching for the senior secondary students in the communities to prepare them for the examinations. The university has a host of other community service programmes even in the area of animal husbandry development.

How does the university handle its entrepreneurship education?

Aside the fact that we engage our students in vocational training, our entrepreneurship education is based on problem-solving. Each student must be solution provider, and that is the mindset we are building in them. We encourage them to broaden their horizon, so as to enhance their thinking skills to solve emerging problems.

What format does it take?

Aside the vocational training in all sorts of trades that we engage our students in, our entrepreneurship education is practical-based and focuses on problem-solving skills.  We believe a graduate must be solution-driven; this is the mind-set we are building in our students.  In the light of this, we have introduced our students to knowledge broadening business books, which expand their horizon in all sense of innovations. They study, discuss and share the business ideas information in the books through the WhatsApp and other group study platforms.

In a nutshell, our core value, which are; godliness, entrepreneurship, excellence, innovation and social responsibility form the basis of university education in Bowen University. Our students are groomed in their fields to be self-sufficient, productive and relevant to their immediate environment and the global level at large.  We train our students according to industry needs and to be able to fit into any of the industries.

What can you say about graduates’ employability in Nigeria?   

I do not believe that there are no jobs in Nigeria. The problem is that Nigerian universities are training students for jobs that are no longer available.  This is what we are trying to avoid by making Bowen University a technology-driven institution.

How do you think the Nigerian education sector can be improved upon?

Well, we need a strong-willed personality to manage the education sector of this country. Our entire education system, including the curriculum, from the primary level should be reviewed. Education in Nigeria must be learning-driven and technology-focused. We are dealing with a generation that is digital-based; therefore, our teachers must be retrained to be able to address the challenges of this generation.

Another problem is that Nigeria does not have schools for gifted children. There are no measures in place to develop children who exhibit high level of intelligence. For instance, if I have a child who is very good at Mathematics, I should be able to groom him in such a way that he would excel more in the subject. We do not have what it takes to do this, and that is the reason we must go back to the drawing board to produce tomorrow innovators for the country, even right from the primary school level.

What are your expectations from parents concerning the restructuring and transformation going on in the university?

I will want parents to be patient with the authorities of the university and give us free hand to take good care of their children and to do the needful concerning skill development and character-building in their respective chosen careers.

Parents cannot dictate to the university, but they can only advise as stakeholders.  The management will always respect parents’ positive contributions to the development of the institution, but they should not go to the extent of forcing their ideas on the university. Also, we expect parents to understand that we are career parents to these children and will give them the best trainings that would make them self-sufficient and productive with godly character.

These children are the brand ambassadors of the university in the labour market, both at local and international levels. Already, our graduates are doing very well at the global market, thereby projecting the good image of the university.

Through our graduates, we have series of goodwill messages coming from different universities abroad, requesting for our collaboration. So, the university cannot afford to give the students anything less than what is obtainable in any standard universities abroad, be it in learning and character. Under our repositioning process, we are in partnership with industries to identify with current market needs, in order to train our students towards that direction. As a matter of fact, Bowen University is producing graduates for global competitiveness and relevance and not only for Nigerian market.

It is believed that the number of qualified candidates outweighs the number of spaces available in the universities. How can this be resolved?

Yes. Nigeria has more qualified candidates contesting for the limited numbers of available spaces universities in the country. However, the answer lies in the establishment of more private universities in the country. Right now, we have nothing less than 300 applications with the National Universities Commission (NUC) seeking approval.

However, to address this university admission challenges, government must be ready to create an enabling environment for private university to thrive. If government would make registration fee and other requirements in terms of finance more available to proprietors of private institutions, it would go a long way to boost their development.

It will not be out of place for government to extend the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to private universities and give scholarships or loans to students who desire to study in private universities. There is academic stability in private universities.

The issue of drug abuse among Nigerian youths, especially in tertiary institutions, is becoming embarrassing. What is your take on this?

This is a faith-based university, where character and learning is strictly emphasised. We have zero tolerance for any form of misbehaviour. There is no room for miscreants in Bowen University. We keep our eyes on everyone on the campus.  Once a student is caught in an act of indiscipline, we will invite the parents of such to decide his or her fate.  I want to use this medium to appeal to Nigerian youths to desist from taking all these dangerous drugs.  At Bowen, we play the role of career parents to our students. So, we shall not condone any form of misconduct in our students. Once you are on our campus, we take responsibility for your welfare. Every Bowen student must graduate with knowledge and character because this is the only way they can be useful to themselves, their parents and the society at large.

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Zimbabwean Agriculturist To Collaborate With Bowen University

The Faculty of Agriculture in Bowen University has been urged not to limit their lectures to theories alone, but also engage the students in many practical sessions and demonstrations that have to do with their disciplines, which will be beneficial to them and revive agriculture in the country.

Dr. Seyi Ayoola of the Faculty of Agriculture and some students of the faculty.

Making this assertion was Zimbabwean Agriculturist, George Marechera, who is the managing director of Agro Tech limited, an Organization under the auspices of the African technology fund, during a mechanization training organized by the faculty of Agriculture, Bowen University Iwo, Osun state.

George Marechera with students of Agriculture.

While expatiating on mechanized farming, he said mechanized farming entails using modern equipment and facilities to aid agriculture and its development, saying his presence in Bowen University is to collaborate with the school in the area of mechanized production especially on cassava and other root crops, and also to create more impact on farming and its techniques.

Marechera called on the government to further promote mechanized farming and provide support to ensure it is adopted by every farmer. In his words, “if the governments of African nations, especially Nigeria who we all look up to can focus more on mechanized agriculture and fully support it, Africa can become self-sufficient in no distant time.”

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Ogunwole Awards Certificates To Outstanding Students

Professor Joshua Ogunwole, as his custom is, has taken out time to celebrate the students of Bowen University who emerged as winners in the competition organized by the Nigerian Pragmatics Association. (see: )

Of the five best performances that the NPrA recognized, four of them were students of Bowen namely:

  1. Precious Akanbi                  1st Position
  2. Ajedoyin Dorcas Olojede   2nd runner-up
  3. Verena Odebunmi               3rd runner-up
  4. Chinenye Okolo                   4th runner-up

In addition to the certificates and prizes awarded by Bowen University and the NPrA respectively, the latter will sponsor all the winners (including the student from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka who took the 2nd Position) to the 3rd International Conference of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association in March, 2020, and showcase them to the International audience.

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