MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Nigeria’s premier polytechnic, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos on Thursday witnessed a rare display of intellectualism as a senior lecturer in the Department of Languages; Dr. (Ms) Chukwuenweniwe Uzochikwa Olu presented the institution’s 13th Inaugural Lecture titled “Context and Language in the polytechnic: Implications for Communication and Pedagogy.”
It was an occasion that would not be forgotten in a hurry as the Rector of the College; Engr. Obafemi Omokungbe heartily commended Olu for what he described as “a very brilliant lecture.” He added that the Delta State born lecturer has contributed greatly in the field of lecturing for over three decades in the institution.
The Rector noted that the lecture which was masterly packaged and delivered by Dr. Olu had brought to the fore the prevailing situation in Nigeria’s polytechnic space where students no longer pay good attention to the teaching of language related studies.
He aligned his position with the inaugural lecturer’s submission that the structuring of the polytechnic system which gives more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as evident in the 70% of admission to science and technology based studies and 30% to humanities and social science courses was responsible for it.
According to him, a good number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students pay less attention to language studies in the polytechnics.
In her well articulated 80-page lecture handbook, Olu took pains to discourse the problems observed over the years in the teaching of courses in communication and language skills. According to her, “our observation as language and communication teachers is that there is a deep-seat misconception and a gross under appreciation of the relevance of language and communication skill courses amongst learners and even schools/faculties in the College.”
To arrest the ugly trend, she posited a way forward which among other things include the fact that “the student learners should henceforth, with all vigour disabuse their minds about the language and communication courses. This is because the courses are fundamental to their upward socio-economic mobility and employability.
“Authorities in the institutions should also re-orient their belief system that their students do not need these courses. These courses are gatekeepers that will help their students to develop appropriate language and communication skills.”
Speaking with AtlanticNewsonline on the sideline during hosting of guests after the lecture presentation, Dr. Chukwuenweniwe Uzochikwa Olu who hails from Ubulu-Uku in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State paid tribute to the memory of her parents whom she said laid a good foundation for her.
In her words “I am happy that today came in my life and like the Rector said, my foundation, upbringing, education background, my parents prepared me for today. Any time I remember that memory lane, I always see my parents engineering me to move forward, not to look sideways.”
“My parents had always urged me to look forward to anything I am doing so that I would be successful. So I return all thanks to God and my late parents for the way they raised me through thick and thin. It gladdens my heart that I came to Yaba College of Technology as a teaching staff with first degree and today I am leaving the institution with the highest degree (Doctor of Philosophy) and an inaugural lecture to assist the institution. I look forward to better grounds tomorrow.”
As many young Nigerians now resort to quick way of acquiring wealth, Dr. Olu has advised them to work hard and shun short cuts because “I did not go through short cut. They need to work hard, have faith in God and exercise perseverance. From my secondary school days at St. Roses Grammar School, Ogwashi-Uku, I learnt that perseverance brings success. There are challenges in life but the youths should not be dismayed as challenges do not mean end of life.”
Dr. Chukwuenweniwe Uzochikwa Olu obtained her first degree – a Bachelor of Education (Arts) English, from the University of Benin, Master of Education (Admin) from the University of Lagos, Master of Arts (English) also from the University of Lagos and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Pragmatics & Discourse Studies from the University of Ibadan.