Welcome Note from the Vice Chancellor
Within the enterprise of teacher education, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teacher education has occupied a respectable niche. This prominence derives from the critical role that science and technology play in development. Throughout history, processes and products of science and technology have been the drivers of improvement in quality of life on the planet. While some offshoots of such processes and products have impacted deleteriously, it is not in doubt that in such diverse areas as food security, health security, transportation, housing and national security, science and technology have exerted significant footprints. The future of humanity, it is often claimed, is inextricably linked to science and technology. This elevates the status of STEM teachers since they are concerned with preparing future scientists who in turn, will drive the engine of science and technology for society’s growth and development. The key development challenge that the Centre will address is improving the quality of STEM education in West Africa through innovative and transformative teacher training and leadership. The enduring logic is: fix the teacher factor in the education enterprise and not less than 30% of the potency of education in addressing developmental challenges would have been fixed.
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Education, Teaching and Learning
An innovative and transformative education paradigm will be the adopted practice of education for the Centre. This is the Culturo-Techno-Contextual Approach (CTCA) selected based on its efficacy for training exemplary STEM teachers (See Okebukola, 2019 for a review). The increasing incursion of technology to teaching and learning especially in the last five years has brought a new and exciting dimension which science classrooms in Africa are taking advantage. Africa has one of the fastest growing rates of use of internet-enabled mobile devices making technology-mediated teaching and learning to take an upward swing (Uwadiae, 2015). The science classrooms have not been left out as many students at all levels and their teachers are using new and emerging technologies in class interaction. A survey by Okebukola (2013) documents high rates of e-learning readiness of students and teachers in Nigerian schools.
The over 30 years of inquiry as to how best to present science to African students in a way to enhance meaningful learning, bolster achievement and improve interest and attitude has resulted in pockets of approaches now needing connecting threads. It now needs isolating the elements of the individual approaches which research has confirmed to be potent and blending these into a simple but elegant approach that is flexible and adaptable to the different cultural contexts in Africa. This led to the emergence of the Culturo-Techno-Contextual Approach (CTCA).
A participatory, student-centred, technology-mediated and culturally-relevant teaching method will be the minimum standard for delivering the curriculum in the Centre. This is consistent with the CTC Approach.
To ensure that the master STEM teachers to be produced from the Centre are not weak in STEM content and pedagogical practical skills as many produced in the typical training institutions in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region, the learning activities for teacher trainees will be laden with practical work. Field trips and laboratory sessions and use of community resources will provide environments for learning in a practical way.