UK varsity seeks partnerships with Nigerian institutions
Kathy Daniels Aston University VP
Pro-Vice Chancellor International (Recruitment and Global Pathways) of UK-based Aston University, Kathy Daniels, has said that the institution was open to partnership with Nigerian institutions in the areas of enhancing academic programmes and research.
In an interview in Lagos, Daniels, an associate professor in employment law, said she the university had open talks with Nigerian institutions in this regard so Nigerians can plug into available opportunities for quality education that encompasses research, entrepreneurship and community development.
Ms. Daniels said her visit to Nigeria included meetings with the management of the University of Lagos, Aston University alumni, and students’ recruiters, among others.
She said: “I have hosted some alumni dinners, we have a lot alumni here based in Lagos. I have also been going around talking to universities, like University of Lagos, also organizations talking about opportunities for Nigeria Students to come to the U.K to study.
“The University of Lagos has a foundation degree. 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. It was our first conversation so we will see how that will develop. But it was a very positive conversation.”
Ms. Daniels said academic programmes are rigorous at Aston University because the institution places 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.
Speaking on some of the research initiatives that expose students of the university to solving real-life problems, Ms. Daniels said: “We also have the Aston Institute for Urban Technology looking at small cities, what does the city of tomorrow will look like? In the U.K we 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 robot and the student have the chance to program it. 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.
“We then have life and health sciences, we have medical schools, is very new and it just 13 months old. So we haven’t had any graduate from the medical school yet but we have got student studying. Within our health sciences we have a lot subject align to health, audiology, optometry, pharmacy, neuroscience, psychology. So these subjects they help professionals specialising.”
In its business school programme, 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.
With such education, Ms. Daniels said Nigerians who study in Aston get skills to land good jobs because they learn to do things differently.
“The benefits to Nigerian students coming to the UK is that they go back to Nigeria with a different thinking,” she said.
New ideas. It not like we are saying the UK is better, it all about having that exposure to another way of doing things and another way of thinking about things.
Taiwo Olalere (PREMIER)
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