“Teaching Moral Character and Creative Thinking in Primary and Secondary Schools for National Development”. This was the theme chosen for the 2018 Biennial Conference of the Philosophers Association of Nigeria (PAN), held from 14 to 17 November 2018 at the Nelson Mandela Hall of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State, in Nigeria. It was organized in collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja in the context of the celebration of World Philosophy Day 2018.
The Conference offered a genuine occasion to look into the theme and to deepen PAN’s analysis of hypothesis, options, opportunities and challenges towards the effective infusion of the teaching of philosophy in primary and secondary levels of education, through instilling moral character and creative thinking, including by capitalizing on traditional knowledge and related cultural and moral values of Nigeria.
To support this process, about 52 abstracts of research papers were presented by their authors and/or co-authors; distinguished Professors, Lecturers, Researchers in philosophy as well as young graduates. Participants were from various universities in Nigeria, among which the universities of Akunde Ajasin (host), Calabar, Ibadan, Lagos, Benue State, Kashere, Zaria, Uyo, Nsukka, Ndufu Alike, Abeokuta, Ekiti State, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Olabanja Onabanjo, Olabishi Onabanjo, Obafemi Awolowo, Jos, Alex Ekweme, Benin, Ahmadu Bello, Niger Delta, and Lafia, etc. These presentations helped shedding more light on, and exploring further different facets of the main theme, analyzed from six sub-topics:
- Moral Character, Creative Thinking, Pedagogy and National Development;
- The Challenges of Teaching Moral Character and Creative Thinking at the Pre-Tertiary Level;
- Developing the Manpower for Teaching Moral Character and Creative Thinking
- Teaching Creative Thinking and Moral Character in Pre-Tertiary Level;
- Teaching Indigenous Moral Character and Virtues (Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Efik, etc.)
- Folklores and Philosophical Institutions at the Pre-Tertiary Level;
- Modern Technology and its Relevance in the Teaching of Philosophy at the Pre-Tertiary Level.
Welcome speeches were heard from the co-hosts: Professor Igbekele Ajibefun, Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, represented by Dr. Sylvester L.D. Itanrin, Head of the Department of Philosophy, and H.E. the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunri Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, represented by Dr. Wunmi Ilawole, Special Adviser on Education to the Governor.
In his remarks, the Convener, Distinguished Professor Jim I. Unah, President of the Philosophers Association of Nigeria (PAN) stressed the significance he attaches to this Conference. He considers the first joint organization with the UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja a strong message to a “rebranded and officially registered” PAN. He welcomed in this regard its alignment, for the first time ever, with the UNESCO World Philosophy Day.
Representing Mr. Yao Ydo, the UNESCO Abuja Office Regional Director, Mr. Ngandeu N. Hugue, Programme Specialist for Social and Human Sciences delivered the message of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, on the occasion of the World Philosophy Day 2018. He further bridged the event taking place in Akungba with activities at UNESCO in Paris, as well as with the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a landmark instrument to which philosophers were the architects.
Keynotes to the Conference were presented by Professor Benson M. Akinnawonu, Director, Academic Planning, AAUA.
This Conference hosted important side events, such as the PAN’s Annual General Meeting, during which structures and activities of this association in rebirth were strengthened. A major commitment that emerged is to now have annual PAN Conferences.
The Celebration of the World Philosophy Day 2018 in Nigeria ended with a March around the Adekunle Ajasin University campus. The purpose was to raise awareness on both the Day and on Philosophy as a discipline, more and more marginalized among academia and beyond. This was also to recall the importance of Philosophy for the sustainable development of Nigeria, through supporting creative thinking and a development project of philosophy teachers and academics in Nigeria, as proposed by PAN.