BRITAIN’S Aston University has asked Nigerian institutions of higher learning to enter into partnership with it as part of an exchange programme that will lead to the enhancement of academic programmes and research.
Professor Kathy Daniels, the pro-chancellor, international of the university, is currently in Nigeria, seeking to enter into partnerships with local universities. Speaking in Lagos Professor Daniels, an associate professor in employment law, said Nigerians can plug into available opportunities for quality education that encompasses research, entrepreneurship and community development.
She said: “I have hosted some alumni dinners as we have a lot alumni here in Lagos. I have also been going around talking to universities like University of Lagos and other organisations, talking about opportunities for Nigerian students to come to the UK to study.
“The University of Lagos has a foundation degree and students could potentially progress straight from there to come and do an undergraduate degree with us. Another thing we are looking at is students doing a year at the University of Lagos and coming over to our school for two years.
“We are also looking out for graduate from the University of Lagos to come for their postgraduate overseas. We also talked about coming research and trust, which was our first conversation, so we will see how that will develop but it was a very positive conversation.”
According to Professor Daniels, academic programmes are rigorous at Aston University because the institution places a premium on entrepreneurship/small business development and strong partnership with businesses. She said the institution’s schools of engineering and applied sciences, life and health sciences, languages and social sciences, and business, offer students opportunities to strong academic and research skills aimed at solving problems in the society.
“We also have the Aston Institute for Urban Technology looking at small cities, asking what does the city of tomorrow will look like? In the UK, we are moving away from petroleum diesel cars to electric cars so we need charging points, so how does that change what the city looks like?.
“We also have a lot of work going on in artificial intelligence and that is just fascinating. We have got robots and the student has the chance to programme it, so one of the things they have been doing as well is understanding how humans think when they create art and by understanding that and programming the computers, the computers are producing really beautiful art,” Professor Daniels added.
In its business school programme, Professor Daniels said undergraduates get to spend one year within their three year study in partner institutions abroad, while post-graduates get to spend the first six months learning competency and the last six months either working, studying abroad, running new businesses or participating in business simulation projects. She added that with such education, Nigerians who study in Aston get skills to land good jobs because they learn to do things differently.