Professor Ayo Badejo is a woman of many parts. Her positions as both the Dean of the Faculty of Education and also Chairman of the University’s Ceremonies Committee place a huge responsibility on her shoulders. But she has carried on with grace and a lot of style. In an interview with The Intellectual, the renowned academic effortlessly listed the achievements of one of the University’s pioneer Faculties, insisting emphatically that the Lagos State University has not failed its founding fathers.
What has been the Faculty of Education’s contribution to the development of the Lagos State University?
The Faculty of Education prides itself with many staff who started the university, as pioneer staff. So, it could be said that the foundation of LASU was laid together with many staff of the Faculty.
Some of the early comers in the Faculty rose to becoming the Deputy Vice Chancellor and even the Acting Vice- Chancellor of the University. Talking about exceptional representation of the Faculty, one Faculty member – Prof. Peter Okebukola – is a one-time Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission and another one – Dr.Oluranti Adebule – is the current Secretary to the Lagos State Government; and yet another one – Prof. Solomon Olaniyonu – is the current Commissioner for Education in Oyo State.
Other members of the Faculty have been appointees into various offices both at the state level and at the national level. For example, a former member of the Faculty and past Dean – Prof. Pai Obanya – was the first Executive Chairman of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Abuja. We also have had members of the Faculty appointed and elected into various offices within the University.
For example, as the current Dean, I am the Chairman of the University’s Ceremonies Committee. Dr Femi Adeogun is the Director of the University’s Sports Centre. Even at the professional organisations’ level, I was the immediate past Chairperson of the Counselling Association of Nigeria (Lagos State Chapter) and an awardee of the best state Chairperson for the four years I was there. Prof. Nwabuno Nwaboku was a past Chairperson of the Nigeria Association for Educational Media and Technology. So, the Faculty could be said to have had a fair share of appointees into various positions.
The Faculty has greatly contributed to the development of the university. At the inception of the University, when the need arose to encourage students to study science, the Faculty came up with the idea of Pre-Degree in Science (PDS) – a one year programme, which prepared students for admission into science and science education degrees. The programme helped this category of students, especially Lagosians, to get university education. Some of these people are themselves lecturers in both the Faculties of Science and Education today.
What is the Faculty’s student population?
As of the last academic session (2013/2014), the student population in the Faculty was 1265. I must be quick to mention that this figure has significantly increased during the current academic session, as a result of the downward review of the school fees by the state government.
I also need to thank the University Management for giving support to the Faculty in our effort to improve students’ enrolment during the admission process.
Do you keep track of your products to know where they end up and how well they are faring?
This is an area that we are currently working on. At the moment, we mostly only get to track students through staff personal effort . As a Faculty, we are now trying to put machinery in place to track graduates of the Faculty and to follow their progress.
Describe your experience as the Dean since your assumption of office.
It has been quite demanding, very daunting but not insurmountable. This is coupled with the fact that I also combine the position with that of the Chairman of Ceremonies Committee of the University.
However, I know that as a leader, I am the Captain of the ship. The work of moving the Faculty forward and making sure that our students’ and indeed staff interests are always protected should be seen as a collective responsibility of us all. To this end, I thank the University Management for the set of Heads of Departments that are working with me. They are fantastic; and with my Sub Dean in charge of (Faculty) results, the Faculty has many times (during my tenure) been seen as a leading one for the others to copy from.
What is your dream for LASU? What kind of University would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?
The LASU of my dream is an institution of higher learning that is comparable to other Universities around the globe in terms of staff and infrastructural qualities. I also want to see a LASU where students do their work as required and can compete favourably with other students nationally and internationally.
Finally, madam, do you think that LASU has justified the purpose for its establishment, despite its challenges?
Obviously!!! I know many people who may not have had University education, or at least, who may not have had university education when they did, and who are by virtue of the education they got in LASU, are shakers and movers of the society today – at the University, state, national and international levels.
Very recently, the Lagos State government, through the Lagos Research and Development Council, awarded grants to tertiary institution staff for research purposes. At the end of the rigorous selection, many awardees were staff of LASU and the Faculty of Education has more than its fair share of the awardees.
One of the research studies, (e-learning research) in the Faculty, is now reaching secondary school students in their homes on facebook and via sms. A lot of students and teachers are now benefitting from the online lessons that are being rolled out on weekly basis by the project.