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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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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Nigerian Pragmatics Association Grooms Students At 2nd National Workshop Cum Conference

The Vice-Chancellor of Bowen, University, Professor Joshua Ogunwole has reiterated the devotion of the university to explore and implement decisions and policies that will make the institution one of the foremost citadels of learning in Africa.

Professor Ogunwole who was represented by Professor John Ayoade (Chairman, Committee of Provosts and Deans, and Dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Bowen University) stated this at the second national workshop cum conference on pragmatics research and Workshop of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association in partnership with the department of English of Bowen University.

He added that strategic use of language, being the cardinal subject at the gathering, occupies a place of pride in the ongoing efforts of the university in the process of repositioning and rebranding.

Professor John Ayoade (Chairman, Committee of Provosts and Deans and Dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, Bowen University)

He challenged lead speakers at the workshop, to explore ways in which the roles of language will have more impact and be channeled towards successful executions of all aspects of the efforts, and thanked the association for choosing Bowen University as the host.

The national president of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association (NPrA), Professor Akin Odebunmi said, “with the birth of the Nigerian Pragmatics Association, the study of language use is no longer an inner-room business of a reclusive underdog in Nigeria, but a Nigeria-networked discipline with standards consistent with the current-minute standards in the global spread.”

He added that one of the main goals of the association is to build members’ capacity and groom young people in the core skill of pragmatics.

“The whole essence of the academia is the generation and dispensation of knowledge, the very pilot not only of our pedagogy, but also our professional being; the very bedrock of our relevance and distinctive identity which inspires originality and societal growth,” he said.

Professor Akin Odebunmi (President, Nigerian Pragmatics Association)

He also noted that the NPrA is equally and centrally involved in the conception of the African Pragmatics Association, which is currently led by Professor Nana Aba Appiah Anfo of Legon University, Ghana.

The keynote speaker, Professor Adewale Adegbite of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said pragmatic methods are needed if there must be a fuller, deeper and generally more reasonable account of human language behaviour, adding “outside pragmatics, there can be no understanding of utterances.”

Similarly, the Vice-Chancellor of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Professor Mustapha Ahmad Isa, who gave the plenary lecture on the topic ‘Pragmatics: the Expanding Frontiers’ charged the NPrA to be an association the supports scholarly research in both theoretical and applied pragmatics in general, but with specific focus on the various sub-fields that have emerged over time, including the cognitive, historical, social, inter-language, linguistic and inter-cultural paradigms of pragmatics.

Professor Mustapha Ahmad Isa (Vice-Chancellor, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano)

Delegates from Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife; University of Ilorin, University of Ibadan, Redeemer’s University, Ede; Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; as well as from across African countries like Cameroon and Ghana, numbering over 200 were in attendance at the conference. At the breakout sessions, undergraduates from participating universities were given the opportunity to write a test for competitive sponsorship programmes. According to Prof. Odebunmi, the NPrA president, the test would enable them apply for support in future events and give them opportunities to win grants.

A cross section of participants

Of the 51 student-participants from the universities in attendance, 5 emerged with the best performances, with Bowen students dominating the pack. Precious Akanbi of Bowen University emerged as the overall best, with Justinah Ekechukwu of University of Nigeria, Dorcas Olojede of Bowen University, Verena Odebunmi of Bowen University and Chinenye Okolo of Bowen University claiming the second, third, fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

The association also awarded a posthumous distinguished pragmatician award to the late Professor Emmanuel Efurrosibina Adegbija, for his outstanding contributions to the study of pragmatics.

Mrs Adegbija, wife of late Professor Emmanuel Efurrosibina Adegbija, who was awarded a posthumous award at the conference.

The conference, which held from April 28 – May 1, 2019, had the theme: CONTEXT, DISCOURSE AND KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION and was graced by several dignitaries and distinguished scholars.

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Bowen University’s Mediated Reading Plan (MRP)

No society fares better than the quality of human capacity assembled in such a society. One of the time- tested ways of developing the human capacity is through reading; because it is in books that life-changing information are submerged awaiting the curious and motivated reader to identify and use for personal and community development. The deterministic nature of technology is dictating a new pattern especially among young people. Rather than the age-long practice of reading, priority now exists for the use of mobile technology and other devices that generate varied contents for entertainment at the expense of education. An inflection point is noticed and this is the problem that Bowen University is addressing in the Mediated Reading Plan (MRP). The Bowen University reading model leverages on technology to engender productive reading and post-reading discussions.

The MRP leverages on available technology-driven platforms at the disposal of students as a means for small-group reading engagements, it also affords participants the privilege of self-learning using minimal resources at the disposal of the learner and benefitting from direct access to unlimited information on the internet.

In March 2019, a pilot reading scheme was launched with 23 students who volunteered to read the Forbes – published ‘AFRICA RISE AND SHINE.’ The book, which comprises of thirty chapters, meets the core values of the University (Godliness, Excellence, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Responsibility). The book was selected, read and subjected to thorough review for the purpose of shaping and reshaping the opinions of participants.

The University Management led by Prof. Joshua Olalekan Ogunwole believes that knowledge is fundamental in moving successfully from one phase of life to another – and the only way this can be made possible is when a significant portion of the students read and do so frequently and productively. In the words of the Vice-Chancellor; “Management has also invested heavily in the entrepreneurship education of the students under two broad areas termed Skill-based and Knowledge- based entrepreneurship. The MRP fits into the knowledge based entrepreneurship mode where the individual becomes enterprising through accumulation of useful knowledge.

A comprehensive review was adopted and the book was read and reviewed for 15 days. The reading was done when the school went on election break. The platform used had teaching members of staff for whom the students hold in high esteem and submit themselves for mentoring and participants were assigned roles on the platform as moderators, prompters, divers, super-divers and chief divers.

In the end, the students who participated in the first reading were celebrated at the University Chapel, a venue that holds about 5,000 students at a sitting. Currently, about a hundred students are on que for the next batch of review while a team of about 40 are currently holding daily discussion on the different platforms. The MRP has succeeded in using the same platforms that distract the students as an avenue to build and further shape their lives.

The following are testimonies of some of the student participants:

 “I have participated in a host of group readings before and I have not had the kind of experience I had in Bowen with the Mediated Reading Plan. With an application as simple as WhatsApp, I was able to exchange views and critically read the Jim Ovia’s Africa Rise and Shine. The MRP is a great initiative and I am sure several students will get really fascinated doing this in the future.”

– Tobi Onigbogi

“It was fascinating for me to read and to review in a completely different way. I had the privilege of participating as a Moderator. The job of a moderator centres on coordination; I was thrilled by the depth of ideas that emanated from my colleagues – the same set of people I play with regularly. I was additionally thrilled by their enthusiasm and energy on a daily basis. It was a beautiful experience; I relish it and I plead that the University sustains the reading plan.”

– Lawi Wulanga


Bowen University appreciates Mr. Jim Ovia for the donation of 100 copies of Africa Rise and Shine to the University. He is appreciated for making the maiden mediated reading plan possible through hard copies circulated to participants.

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