The approach to science and engineering education in African universities is yet to adopt a focus on problem solving, innovation and creativity. Furthermore standards in these tertiary institutions have retrogressed due to severe neglect and lack of investment. Curricular and assessment methods have not adopted practices that encourage critical thinking, open ended problem solving and creativity, rather they are still built around teacher-centered lecture rooms that focus on information acquisition, memorization and regurgitation at closed book examination. Consequently, these academic institutions have not produced science and engineering graduates needed by industry to add value.
The overarching goal of MIT-ETT is to facilitate the development of young African faculty leadership in science and engineering education who will introduce innovation and creativity into science and engineering curricular. There are two main objectives of the MIT-ETT program: to provide young African professors with exposure to cutting-edge pedagogical methods in the highest-rated engineering and science departments in the U.S. and to provide American faculty who have a deep interest in connecting with those in their disciplines in emerging economies a concrete means of engagement.
In an attempt to address the problems articulated above, MIT established the MIT-Empowering the Teachers (MIT-ETT) Program lead by Professor Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande (EECS). The program invites young, brilliant and upcoming African academics, who recently completed their doctoral degree, to spend an intensive and inclusive semester at MIT in a bid to understudy the mode (& dynamics) of curricula development and content delivery at MIT. The aim is to facilitate in African institutions improved teaching content development that is geared towards (1) students-centered content delivery (2) problem solving and (3) creativity. This amongst other things will result in the development new courses and the modification of existing curricula to ones that are geared towards critical thinking, open ended problem solving and hands-on design but also promote innovation and creativity. While at MIT, these African academics developed new course content for their home universities which are consistent with the objectives of developing these skills in their students.
During their semester at MIT, Fellows do the following:
- observe instruction in their own disciplines & subjects
- interact with MIT faculty teaching in their own disciplines & subjects
- develop courses based on problem-solving approach inspired by equivalent course at MIT
- discuss & explore curricular enrichment & reform through both formal and informal interaction with the MIT community
The ultimate goal is to reform their current curricular using new materials, approaches and methods that exemplify the best of MIT’s practices: problem-solving, student-centered, innovation and bringing knowledge to bear on the world’s greatest challenges.
Spring 2019 Fellows
Dr. David Obada
“The ETT Program provides an opportunity to integrate innovative student oriented practices, with strategies that empower the Fellows to make a lasting and profound impact on their students.”
Dr. Chika Yinka-Banjo
“The program has enhanced my teaching and research capabilities, it is only logical, that getting more lecturers with the same type of acquired mindset from this program will revolutionize the education sector in Nigeria.”
Dr. Razak O. Alli-Oke
“I realized that it is not enough for the teacher to have expertise in a subject, but that the teaching practices and methodology are equally important for effective learning of students.”
Dr. Olayinka O. ADEWUMI
“The MIT-ETT program is a revolution of the higher education industry in Nigeria. Every fellow is a change agent and I am confident that if every fellow implements all they’ve learnt, a larger percentage of our students will become job creators, providing innovative and creative solutions to problems that affect humanity.”
Dr. Amos O. Bajeh
“My experience at MIT has empowered me with rich knowledge and skills to produce innovative and productive graduates that are problem solvers. To train job creators, the MIT-ETT programme is a must-have type of experience for African faculties in Science and Engineering education.”