Don’t sacrifice innovation for excellence, Jusu warns institutions

David Adenekan
David Adenekan
Don’t sacrifice innovation for excellence, Jusu warns institutions
L-R: Prof Victor Cole, Visiting Consultants to WATS, Dr Cosmas Ilechukwu, member of Governing Council, Dr Tosin Awolalu, Ag. Provost, Prof Gary Maxey, Mrs Taba Peterside, Member of Governing Council, Dr Emmanuel Oluwayemi, Chairman WATS Governing Council, Prof John Jusu, guest speaker at the Public Lecture of WATs held on Friday at lpaja

The Regional Director for Africa and Overseas International, Professor John Jusu, has warned educational institutions not to sacrifice innovation for excellence.

He gave the warning while delivering the second annual lecture of the West Africa Theological Seminary in Lagos on Friday, September 9.

Jusu who is the Africa Bible Study Supervisor Editor spoke on the topic, “Innovation and Theological Education: The challenge of governance and sustainability in Africa.”

In the well-researched paper, the Kenyan-born professor noted that when people talked about innovation, they were often interested in adding new things to what they had done before.

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“Innovation is not just about adding new things. It is about evaluating the way you do things and how to make them effective. When schools want to review their syllabus, for instance, they often end up adding more courses to the existing ones rather than looking at the existing ones and making them more effective. It should not be in all cases that new things have to be added to the syllabus.

“We have to find a way of making what we have to be effective. If there is a problem with the course, it may be because of the way the course is packaged not necessarily the course.”

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The first place to start according to him is for institutions to define what they stand for.

“It is what the school stands for that should guide the school when it comes to innovation and not the other way round,” he said.

According to him educational institutions and indeed theological institutions should not sacrifice excellence for innovation.

“In theological education, we are dealing with the training of pastors so they could make an impact in society. Basically, the theological schools exist to serve the pastors who in turn exist to serve the people in the church. That focus has to be properly guided,” he said.

Theological institutions, he reasoned, “can’t be governed the way the church is governed. Every school has to guide its objectives jealously.”

Jusu said what should be a great concern to seminaries is how to “develop the capacity of our students. We must ensure that we create contents that help students to answer theological and ontological questions.”

He however warned that when it comes to theology,  “you don’t build on content, you just pass it on. The challenge has to do with how the content is delivered. That has been the trend since the time of Gutenberg Press when the Bible was first printed. In theology, we are dealing with the same content and different means of delivery.”

While noting that the internet is currently being used in the delivery of the same theological message that has been delivered from time immemorial, he said, “Our worry should be how we make theological education relevant. We should be concerned with how to empower our students to be relevant to society.”

The annual lecture attracted hundreds of participants including the founder of WATS, Professor Gary Maxey, and the chairman of the schools governing council, Dr Emmanuel Oluwayemi.

Gary Maxey expressed great satisfaction with the delivery of Professor Jusu, adding, however, that the issue about innovation would continue to be subject of debate.

He said the guest lecturer captured the mood of the seminary in his delivery.

Dr. Oluwayemi in his words noted that the guest lecturer had stirred a revolutionary thinking that will spur the seminary to newer heights.

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