“…This story is not that Rip Van Winkle slept for twenty years but that he slept through a revolution. While he was snoring on the mountain, a revolution was taking place in the cities of America. While men and women were changing the course of history, he was asleep”
By Prof. Anthony Ikechukwu Kanu, OSA, News/comments, April 25, 2020.
There have been three revolutions in education. The first revolution is associated with the schools in ancient Greece, administered by great thinkers like Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, among others. This was a time when there was no digital media. Thus, no books were printed. The student had a master and his ambition was to be like his master.
The second revolution in education came with the emergence of the print media. Books were printed, and emphasis was shifted from being like the master to retaining in the head what was in the book. The student becomes a kind of a container where the teacher poured in knowledge and the learner is considered a great student as long as she or he is able to pour out what he has been taught.
Our time is the age for the third education revolution, which is shifting from the pedagogical system of education, which was teacher centered to the student centered system of learning; It is shifting attention from what the teacher can teach to what the student, on his own can make out from what he has been taught; It is shifting attention from what the student can cram and reproduce to what the student can create from what he or she has been taught. This shift is centered on personal tutorials that develops intellectual autonomy, original thinking, creative thing, innovative thinking and critical thinking. This is the stage where Villanova Polytechnic is at the moment.
I am, therefore, most pleased to welcome you officially to Villanova at her Era of Third Education Revolution. I invite you to think creatively, think critically, think innovatively, and think with originality that you may experience Villanova’s intellectual autonomy.
Dear friends, to think outside the parameters of originality, creativity, innovation and criticality is to sleep through a revolution. Washington Irvin, an American short story writer of the 19th century is known for his short stories titled “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow”. In this story, Rip Van Winkle slept for twenty years. He went up the mountain for his long sleep at a time when King George of England was ruling America- this was the era America was under the British colonial government. During his sleep a revolution took place which ended England’s colonial authority over America, and thus, brought in the Presidential system of Government, with George Washington as the First President of the United States of America. When Rip Van Winkle woke up and saw the picture of George Washington on bill boards as the president of America instead of King George of England, he was completely amazed and infinitely lost. Because he has been sleeping, he knew not who George Washington was.
Interesting thing to me about this story is not that Rip Van Winkle slept for twenty years but that he slept through a revolution. While he was snoring on the mountain, a revolution was taking place in the cities of America. While men and women were changing the course of history, he was asleep. One of the liabilities of life is that many people find themselves in a period of change and great transformation and yet they fail to develop the new responses and new attitudes that their new situations demand. They just sleep through a revolution.
Our new students, you have come into Villanova Polytechnic at a time when there is an academic revolution. It is a time when the voice of God “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5); and “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth”(Is 43:19) is becoming clearer to us at Villanova. I, therefore, call on you not to sleep through this revolution.
To be awake through this revolution, you must:
Have a global perspective in your relationship with one another. The world in which we live is a neighbourhood. Everyone who is a student here is a part of the other. We have all been tied together in a single God destiny and caught in an inescapable network of mutuality whether as Muslims or Christians, whether as Catholics or Pentecostals or Protestants, whatever affects one directly affects the other indirectly. We must see this, believe this, and live by this. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that: “If we do not live together as brothers and sisters, we shall perish together as fools”. To forget this, is to sleep through a great revolution.
Although you have all come to a higher institution, you must choose wisely who you associate with. Everyone here has a map that he or she is following and the direction of the other person’s map should determine the level of relationship. The wrong friend will choke and kill your vision and dream. If you fall into the hands of those that don’t have the capacity to increase you, they will eventually decrease you. Beware of receiving counsel from unproductive people. Don’t follow anyone who is not going anywhere. With some people you spend an evening, with others you invest an evening.
Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves you will learn how to howl. But if you associate with eagles you will learn how to soar to great heights. Choose for yourself whether to howl or to soar to great heights. To forget this is to sleep through a great revolution.
You are here because you have a dream. We the management and staff are here to make that dream work. On your life’s blueprint, therefore, must be the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields that you have decided to study. If you are in the field of Computer Engineering, strive to be the Ronald Wayne of our era. If you are in the field of Business Management, endeavour to be the Aliko Dangote of our time. If you are in the field of Computer Science ensure you become the Nigerian Bill Gates that we all anticipate. If you are in the field of Electrical Engineering, resolve to be the Timothy Donald Cook of Africa.
There can’t be an end to our dreams. The Scripture teaches: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so shall he become” (Prov. 23: 7). You must be the best of whatever you are here for. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley. But be the best little scrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be the sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or you fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” To forget this, is to sleep through a great revolution.
You need to continually remember that the distance between today’s ceremony and graduation is short, and it is important that the journey ends successfully well. For this to happen, you need to be regular in attendance at lectures, carrying out all your assignments, shunning deviant behaviours and other vices that can expose you and others to danger. Villanova Polytechnic has zero tolerance for cultism, any form of hooliganism and corruption. I need to further advise you to show respect to the staff to make your stay fruitful and productive. Let us be modest and decent in our dressing and approach to issues. To forget this is to sleep through a great revolution.
As you all begin your journey today officially, I know that some of you have doubts in your minds about the future; do not worry, be happy, because your future is in the hands of God; I know that some of you are going through challenges; do not worry, be happy, because God will turn those challenges to opportunities. Institution’s logos
I know that some of you may not be as intelligent as others; don’t worry, be happy, because God will give you an understanding for excellence; if only you are ready to study. I know that some of you have come from poor backgrounds; don’t worry, be happy, because God will use you to change that background; if only you are ready to cooperate with Him. While others may be seeing in you potential graduates from Villanova come 2021, I see beyond that. Like Moses in Exodus, I have gone to the mountain top and I have seen the Promised Land. I see in you the future Presidents of Nigeria, I see the future Ministers of Nigeria among you; I see great ambassadors that will represent the Giant of Africa; I see distinguished Professors; I see academic Doctors who will be at the forefront of the fourth revolution in education; I see Millionaires; I see Billionaires; I see Trillionaires; I see Vice Chancellors; I see Rectors, etc. I see in you “a living and dynamic potential of energies and values ready to be dynamized.
This was the address of Prof. Kanu, who is the Rector of Villanova Polytechnic, Imesi-Ile Osun state last month. At the matriculation, included Most Rev. Dr. John Akin Oyejola, Bishop of the Diocese of Osogbo, Very Rev. Fr. John Abubakar, OSA, Prior Provincial, Order of Saint Augustine Province of Nigeria, and others.
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