The Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Professor John Wood, has disclosed that with the expanding population of Africa, “the world population may hit around 9 billion by 2050” noting that numbers of potential students will continue to increase especially in Africa.
He added that “by 2020, about 25 billion objects will be connected to the internet to aid knowledge sharing and technological advancement.
Prof. Wood who is also an Honorary Professor of Materials Science, Imperial College London, spoke on Thursday at the University of Ilorin while delivering the 32nd convocation lecture of the institution entitled : “The Future of Universities”.
According to him, “The skills of data science and data analytics will be the core competences required to work in this
environment. All this requires universities to prepare themselves and their students for this future environment.
“We face challenging times and universities are key to the future. I believe the vision and mission of Ilorin are fit for this future, but
the implications need to be worked out and there is little time to do this. We must have confidence in our young people and especially the graduates here today. Remember, the future is not what it used to be!”
While speaking on the activities of the ACU, the don stressed that, “We have a number of communities that share experiences across members. As I speak one such community is meeting in Mauritius with a common interest in Human Resources and Staff Development. There will be about 100 HR specialists from member universities present.
“We run campaigns on behalf of members. One very successful one was to
ensure that universities were seen as critical to delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This was called“Beyond 2015 ” and resulted in the fact that universities are now seen as key
to delivering some of the SDGs in the future.”
The convocation lecturer further added that, “going by global trends 2030, there are three main global trends that will affect us all.
“The empowerment of individuals, which contributes to a sense of belonging to a single human community; greater stress on sustainable development against a backdrop of greater resource scarcity and persistent poverty, compounded by the consequences of climate change as well as the emergence of a more polycentric world characterised by a shift of power away from states and growing governance gaps as the mechanisms for inter-state relations fail to respond adequately to global public demands.”
Earlier in his address entitled : “Knowledge is Life”, the Vice of the University, Professor Abdulganiyu Ambali, disclosed that Universities are established to accelerate development which includes to inspire individuals and increase knowledge and understanding among others.
He added that “The commitment of the University of Ilorin to serving the reasons for which universities are established, being guided by its core values and working assiduously towards meeting its goals has made the University what it is today. ”
He however commended the convocation lecturer for finding time to honour the invitation aimed towards advancing the knowledge of the people within and outside the University of Ilorin and Nigeria in general.