Saturday, July 22, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

I doubt if Prof. Falola is comparing LASU with OAU where he graduated or UT where he is a professor.

I accuse Prof. Falola of two things though. He is always quick to offer praise for what he perceives as genuine effort. I guess he thinks that by doing so, the person to whom praise is given will try to do more.

Another is that the Prof. seems to ask himself always what he can personally DO to solve a defined problem or how he can contribute positively to other people's lives. And he starts to do them.

I first found these attributes among some American Peace Corps Volunteers when I was in secondary school. In those days, most of us students would get terrifically bad grades from our African teachers. Then came the Peace Corps Volunteers. And all of a sudden we started scoring 80's and 90's in our tests. We, schoolchildren were tremendously proud of ourselves. Of course, we cannot doubt the sincerity of the volunteers, many of them men and women in their twenties, who left the cozy life in America to come and live among African school boys in far away 'jungles'. And let us remember, there was no electricity in those days, neither were there good roads. Many of them did not even have bicycles.

Most of us Africans have now graduated from giving bad grades to offering terrific criticisms of things we know very little about.  In the mean time we will not define a problem to solve lest we be responsible for solving it. Another attribute is our penchant for overdramatizing our ignorance through incessant paralysing analysis whose objective is to make others see us as smart. The question, 'what can I do to help' never crosses our consciousness.

If you should perceive that there is a problem with our universities, please define it in such a way that you can be of help.

God help us.

On Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 12:52:45 PM UTC+1, Toyin Falola wrote:
In over 300 photos, I will bring to you the impressive campus of Lagos State University, Nigeria. The Departments are all well staffed, and the students are incredibly talented and energetic. The millions of African young men and women represent our future, and their abilities at imaginations and inventions are so extraordinary that we may not even know that we are witnessing a revolutionary moment. To those who speak ill of these young men and women, they should check their thinking processes.

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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