Technology in Higher Education and Future-Readiness in Focus at ARUA International Conference in UNILAG

Day 2 of the 4th ARUA Biennial International Conference at the University of Lagos Highlights Digital Transformation and Student Preparation for a Competitive Future.

Technology in Higher Education and Future-Readiness in Focus at ARUA International Conference in UNILAG
The 4th ARUA Biennial International Conference

The crucial role of digital technologies in shaping higher education in Africa and equipping African students for a competitive future took center stage on the second day of the 4th ARUA Biennial International Conference. Held at the Tayo Aderinokun Hall, University of Lagos, on November 16, 2023, the discussions delved into the impact of technology on university processes and the imperative of preparing students for the challenges of tomorrow.

The day commenced with the insightful keynote address by Professor Peter Massen from the University of Oslo, Norway. Titled "The Impact of Digital Technologies on the University’s Primary Process – Possible Implications for African Universities," Professor Massen urged participants to contemplate the evolving identity of universities in the face of a rapidly changing world. He emphasized the need for proactive engagement in defining the future of universities, cautioning against external stakeholders determining this trajectory.

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Following the keynote address, the Third Plenary session, chaired by Professor Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, explored the theme "Technology and Changing Higher Education Practice: How Should African Universities Respond?" Professor John Effah of the University of Ghana highlighted the positive aspects of technological adoption, such as mediated communication, while acknowledging challenges like the cost of digital infrastructure and internet service instability.

Professor Russ Ganim from the University of Iowa, USA, presented on "Tech and Teams: The Promise of Webinars and Global Classrooms," advocating for the efficiency and economy of digital technology in building global connections among scholars. Professor Adeniyi Isafiade of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, discussed the potential of immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) in enhancing teaching and learning.

The Fourth Plenary, chaired by Emeritus Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, focused on preparing African students for the future. Professor Kwame Akyeampong from the Open University, United Kingdom, delivered a keynote address on "Preparing the Future Student for Africa’s Development: How should African Universities Respond through Research and Pedagogy?" He urged universities to view African challenges through indigenous lenses for a faster route to success.

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Jerome September from the University of Witwatersrand emphasized student-centeredness, addressing student needs in terms of infrastructure and pedagogies. Professors Gordon Awandare (University of Ghana) and Roberta Comunian (King's College, London) advocated for confidence-building in students and support for graduates of Creative disciplines, respectively.