A US based Nigerian university teacher, Professor Farooq Kperogi has advocated that the efforts of Nigerians teaching in universities across the world and aimed at developing the homeland should be formalized and systemized. Kperogi, who is a professor of Communication at the Kennesaw State University in the United States, said this during an interview with AbitoCitta recently. He posited that Nigerian academics in the Diaspora need encouragement to come home and contribute their quota to the system.
A fiery writer and a regular columnist in some notable Nigerian news media, Kperogi averred that Nigeria university teachers in the Diaspora have a number of ways to assist Nigerian universities to grow. He pointed at spending sabbaticals in home universities, establishing formal linkages between their universities and Nigerian universities, supervising postgraduate students and becoming virtual adjunct professors as some of the ways through which Nigerians in academic institutions across the globe could contribute to the development of the universities in the country. He noted that some people have been doing these and more, yet, he emphasized the need to make the interventions official and well formalized.
Not Sold on the Narrative of Archaic Curriculum
The regular columnist of Notes from Atlanta also spoke to AbitoCitta on other issues observed in the Nigerian education landscape and journalism. On the supposed archaic curriculum run in the Nigerian tertiary institutions which many have berated for the rising unemployment in the country, Kperogi disagreed and opined “I am sorry I am not entirely sold on this narrative. While it’s true that standards have fallen over the years, the extent of the fall is often exaggerated. These sorts of narratives are often activated by chronological snobbery and declinism, that is, the ever-present notion that people in every generation hold about generations that succeed them. There was never a time when people thought standards were high, but they almost always valorize moments that recede into the dim and distant past, even if they didn’t think highly of those moments during their time.”
The professor of Communication went down the memory “When I was an undergraduate from the early to the mid-1990s, people used to say standards had already collapsed. Today, my contemporaries say we had better education than the people who came after us. The truth is that there are always bad and good students in every era. Sometimes, it’s not even the universities as such that nourish talents; smart people just go the universities. In spite of what we say about the decline in the quality of education in Nigeria, I have encountered amazing talents from several young Nigerians who passed through our public universities.” However, he acknowledged the issues facing the universities in Nigeria. He said “I am not by any means suggesting that everything is hunky-dory in Nigerian higher education. Far from it. I have written scores of columns about pedagogical unaccountability and tyranny in Nigerian universities, infrastructure decay, lax standards in doctoral education and promotion of academic staff, and so on. I just wanted to point out that notions of decline are often the product of a chronocentric cognitive bias.”
Nigerian Media not as Fierce as they were during the Military Regimes
On his view about the state of journalism in Nigeria, Kperogi faulted the Nigerian media for not playing the watchdog role in the democratic dispensations as it was during the military regimes. He said “the irony of the history of press freedom in Nigeria is that the news media tend to play the watchdog role ascribed to them during military regimes better than they do during civilian governments. With a few honourable exceptions, since 1999, the news media have been either uncharacteristically quiescent or outright complicit in the face of enormous governmental malfeasance’’, he concluded.
Farooq Kperogi had his university education across institutions in Nigeria and the United States. He had a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano; a Master’s Degree from the University of Louisianna and a PhD from Georgia State University both in Communication. He has several publications to his credit. Before leaving the shores of the country, Kperogi had served in different capacities such as staff writer, feature editor, reporter/researcher, editorial consultant and columnist to different media outlets including New Nigerian, Nigerian Tribune, Daily Trust and others.