Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi is a Nigerian professor at Durban University of Technology, South Africa. He has a PhD in Food Science and has taught in the university in Nigeria and South Africa in the last 17 years. In a chat with Rasheed Adebiyi, he shared his views on how to make African universities solve the myriads of problems confronting the continent and some other issues. Here are the excerpts.
Tekedia: Could you tell us about yourself?
Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi: Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi is a Professor at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology, Durban University of Technology, South Africa. Oluwatosin holds a doctoral degree in Food Science from University of Pretoria, South Africa. He had his M.Tech (Food Microbiology) and B.Tech (Food and Industrial Microbiology) from Federal University of Technology, Akure, where he lectured from 2001 to 2011. Since 2001, he has conducted research and lectured internationally in the area of food quality and safety. His first science book (edited) titled “Food Science and Technology, Trends and Future Prospects” was published in December 2020. He has also published several scientific publications and four inspirational books. He is also an alumnus of UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of California, Davis USA. Oluwatosin who is the founder of Operation Transform International and Food Safety Africa was appointed Visiting Professor (April to June, 2019) at the Department of Food Science, University of Manitoba, Canada. Oluwatosin has passion for empowering people about innovation, investment and all round excellence. He currently lives with his family in Durban, South Africa.
Tekedia: You have had a wide experience teaching in African universities especially in Nigeria and South Africa. How do you think the tertiary education in Africa could be rejigged to make it solve the myriads of problems confronting the continent?
Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi: The curriculum in African universities should place emphasis on innovation i.e., creativity + entrepreneurship. Our universities shouldn’t be ‘degree factory’ but places where critical thinkers and thought leaders are made. This can only happen when students are taught how to think and not what to think. Universities should prepare their students to be able to take up in-demand jobs of the future and out-compete Artificial Intelligence. It is also important to emphasize to students that greatness is not how much money you have rather it is serving others.
Tekedia: What does it feel like teaching and living in South Africa?
Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi: I am happy to be teaching and living in South Africa. South Africa has given me opportunity to reach my potential and to contribute to the development of Africa’s future leaders.
Tekedia: You have a YouTube Channel where you engage in knowledge sharing and interviews. What is the motivation behind the programme?
Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi: The main purpose of my YouTube channel (which includes interviewing guests) is to share wonderful and amazing pieces of information Information that will encourage people to exceed expectations and never give up in each area of their life be it, spiritual, family, physical, intellectual, social, financial and career. I also use it to showcase Africans making a difference in their communities while at the same time disseminating knowledge.
Tekedia: What exactly are the things you miss about Nigeria?
Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi: I miss my extended family back home, though we communicate often. Nigeria is rich and blessed with many delicacies which I miss so much. Thankfully, we get a few local food items here but not everything I would love to eat. Generally speaking, I miss being at home and enjoying the camaraderie because there is nowhere like home.
Tekedia: Thank you for your time
Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi: You are welcome