Written by Godfrey AKON

I’m proud of my Nigerian educational background –American varsity don

A Nigerian-American university don, Dr. Johnson Akinleye, has hailed the impact of early education in Nigeria.

Akinyele, who is the 12th Chancellor of North Carolina Central University, NCCU in 2017, grew up in Ile-Ife, present day Osun state where he majorly schooled before travelling abroad for further studies.

NCCU is a Historically Black College and University, HBCU, based in Durham, North Carolina.

Speaking to inline newspaper Premium Times, Akinleye said: “I grew up in Ile-Ife and attended a primary school in Ife. Because it was attached to a church, our education was centred around and grounded in Christian values.

“The curriculum back then was fashioned after British Education System. My classes focused on the sciences and the arts. I also took Latin, French and English as well as Yoruba, my native language. We also learned music in my school.

“I am extremely proud of the broad and well-rounded education that I received.”

According to him, “providing students with a broad education is a focus of NCCU. We expose our students to various experiences so they are more versatile and marketable in their careers. Education is an equalizer.”

Throwing light on collaborations between African universities and HBCUs, the varsity don enthused, “I would like to see more faculty and student exchanges between HBCUs and universities on the continent of Africa. The Fulbright Foundation is already doing that but HBCUs can advance it further by providing additional researchers and intellectuals in all fields.

“A good infrastructure should exist to support intellectual work, and incentives should be put in place to attract African talent to help develop the continent. Of note, African governments and the private sector should provide opportunities for Africans who obtain an education in the U.S. to return and contribute to their home country. While many desire to return home, the political challenges and social system sometimes act as a hindrance. Our political and social systems need reform.”



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