(APS) – Professor Adams Tidjani, teacher and researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar, calls for a “rethinking” of the university’s mission to meet the challenges of the time .
“In order to reconcile the needs of development and those of a quality education comparable to reference standards, it will be necessary to rethink the mission of the university,” he said.
Tidjani, spoke Thursday during an honors ceremony at the initiative of the Press Environment Research Group (GREP) after being named “Best Scientist” by the Alper-Doger Scientific Index, a ranking system for research institutions.
“Today, higher education is very much criticized, it is criticized in a dim semblance of questioning for its inefficiency, for its inadequacy to economic needs, for its too small role in the democratization of our society,” noted the teacher-researcher.
Adding to this context of uncertainty, he said, has recently been an unprecedented health crisis, the pandemic linked to COVID-19.
Faced with this crisis, “there was a need to rethink pedagogy, assessment and curricula; Make emergency investments in digital infrastructure; coping with reduced mobility of teachers and students; and bring about behavioral changes in both teachers and students,” explained Tidjani.
Additionally, he pleaded: “We need to face and tackle the most difficult issues with calm. Given the social, political, economic and environmental crisis we are living through, what tasks should be assigned to universities today?
“We believe that, among other things, they should address economic and social imbalances, expand access to higher education to meet growing demand, facilitate epistemological access for students and their success, promote study programs and delivery strategies that are better suited to socio-economic and cultural needs,” endorsed Adams Tidjani
According to him, it is also about meeting the challenges of the computer and technological revolution and contributing to addressing the environmental challenges, in particular global warming and its consequences (energy, floods, coastal erosion, food security (…).
“Today the concept of an ivory tower attached to the university is no longer justifiable. Universities exist to serve a purpose in society,” the scholar said, stressing that today it is undeniable that universities must play their essential role in addressing these challenges.
Unfortunately, he lamented, “we have not always been clear in defining this role, which depends heavily on the university’s position, place and space in our country and in the world”.
“We are in front of history. A very cold reality that requires us to reconsider our university. Let’s think about a university that, in its vision, mission and goals, also takes into account aspects of its integration into society, the values of humanism, social justice, academic integrity and social and environmental responsibility,” he stressed.
Adams Tidjani expressed his “great emotion” after being named UCAD’s Best Researcher for 2022 by the AD Scientific Index.
Several personalities, academics, researchers, media professionals, among others, took part in this honoring ceremony.