‘Ethics in higher education is no longer a choice, it is a mandate'.
On first half of February 2018 Obiora visited Africa: Enugu, Nigeria with the Linsi Foundation, who a long-standing sponsor of Globethics.net. The purpose of this visit was to explore and experience, first hand, the impact, process, reception and lessons for Ethics in Higher Education.
The visit committee featured Obiora Ike, Executive Director Globethics.net and three members of the Linsi Foundation: Walter Linsi, the Founder; Rita Astfalck, the General Manage; and Samuel Guttenger.
The trip was organised to visit different institutions involved in education, especially in Higher Education. It started with a very warm welcome by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu and his entourage. It was followed by the visit to Daughters of the Divine Love Congregation, an international order of religious women who provide shelter, food, medical care and education for the needy.
Globethics.net Director, Obiora Ike, and the LINSI Foundation with The Daughters of the Divine Love Congregation
Dr Obiora had the opportunity to sign a memorandum of understanding with Peaceland College of Education on behalf of Globethics.net-an institution that trains prepares teachers, who go and teach in other educational institutions. This made it the perfect match for Globethics.net as a partner for collaboration. The students from the Peaceland College welcomed us with traditional music and dancing. The Linsi Foundation members delivered a presentation on ‘Transforming an institution through ethical paradigms', a topic in which they are developing with Globethics.net.
At the Catholic Institute for Development for Justice and Peace (CIDJAP) (the first Ethics Institution in Nigeria founded by Dr Ike in 1986) the Linsi Foundation members had the opportunity to teach. They gave a lecture on ethics to students and answered their questions. This visit allowed us to see the interest of different professionals to their response to a lecture on applied ethics. It was a very revealing event. The CIDJAP is also a Globethics.net partner and one of the founding members of the Globethics Consortium in Higher Education.
The trip ended with the invitation to the Fifth Convocation Ceremony of the Godfrey Okoye University. Thanks to this visit we had the opportunity to see how a university is run. We went through the different departments of the university: the senate, the council, the vice-chancellor and the ethics directorate. The Federal Minister of External Affairs delivered this year's Convocation Ceremony lecture on the topic on ‘Peace Building and Ethics as an Agenda of State'. Obiora delivered last year lecture on ‘Integrating Ethics in Higher Education'. During the visit, the Linsi Foundation members also delivered speeches on various forums at the University explaining what the foundation does, how they work and inviting the university authorities to do more intensive collaboration. The Godfrey Okoye University is an important partner for Globethics.net since it, too, is a founding member of the Globethics Consortium on Ethics in Higher Education and it has endowed a chair for Global Ethics Chair. As a member of the Steering Committee of the Globethics Consortium on Ethics in Higher Education it has set up a directory on ethics in higher education.
There were also side-events like a visit to an orphanage, small schools or site seeing. The high light of these events was the visit to the Nigerian Government where the Deputy Governor of State of Nigeria received the visiting committee.
All in all the issue of how can ethics be integrated in higher education became clearer for our bigger sponsors. The 5 key lessons to take from this event are:
- Ethics in higher education is not longer a choice, it is a mandate, an obligation so it is a must
- Ethics in Higher Education is a product that can be marketed across-countries, specially in Africa
- Institutions of higher learning need research materials, they need library materials, they need books, they need curriculum development, they need content
- Teachers are the primarily target for ethics in higher education in terms of scale up. Teachers are the targets because if trained, if they understand what Globethics.net contain they multiply this product
- Finally the visit convinced everybody that Globethics.net is doing the right thing. It is the largest provider of ethics education in terms of its resources. Globethics.net in Geneva must carry out this activity across countries.
Additionally, the meeting helped us to see the main challenges:
- Although there is a shared interest between universities and public institutions on implementing ethics in higher education, the universities are better off in terms of collaborations. Public institutions are subject to procurement process and government policies. This is a challenge in order to achieve the partnership commitments.
- Despite the interest the universities may have in introducing ethics in higher education, some of them face budget limitations. This opens new opportunities for wealthy institutions to collaborate with Globethics.net and sponsor less wealthy institutions.
- Ethics in education is a topic which has no borders. This is why the main aim of the Globethics.net International Conference is to gather those responsible for university administration and teaching from different countries to share knowledge, criss-cross, pollinate ideas and then implement them in their respective countries.
The Linsi Foundation and all of who visited Nigeria came back happy, fulfilled and also discovered that here on Earth progress happens everywhere, even if it is slow.