The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, gave the hint during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Sell, on Friday in Lagos.According to him, the MoU is the beginning of many more programmes that are springing up at the university.
He noted that with the development, the institution was moving to the space of “universities without borders”.
Ogundipe said that the move would also attract more foreign students and lecturers to the 60-year-old university.
He said that there were about 10 foreign students currently studying at the institution.
He said: “As you know, presently, we teach various foreign languages in this university such as Chinese, German, French and Russian, and now, we are introducing the study of Spanish.
“At the initial stage, it will be a short programme, but at the end of the day, we are going to run a degree programme on that.
“And that is why we remain the university of first choice and the nation’s pride.
“This is a cosmopolitan university and I am glad that today, we have three ambassadors who are part of the signing.
“By next year January, we shall be having voluntary lecturers from Spain, coming to Nigeria to teach our students in the area of Spanish language and I am very excited about this development.
“I also want to state that with this development, we are moving steadily to the space of universities without border.”
Ogundipe, the outgoing 12th vice chancellor of the university, said with the development, lecturers from Mexico or Spain, or any of the Spanish-speaking countries could also engage the students virtually.
He assured that the university’s virtual platform was in top shape for the purpose.
Ogundipe said that this would enable students from the university spending a year or two at the undergraduate level to move to either Spain or Mexico, to round off the degree programme.
According to him, with this, such students will have two-degree programmes or programmes in two courses.
He said: “So, we are moving to an era where there will be no more boundaries between one university or the other, irrespective of their locations globally, and we run programmes together and even conduct examinations together.
“I believe strongly too that the number of foreign students will soon be on the increase.
“I have this conviction because before now, the accommodation has always been a great challenge in the institution in particular and Lagos in general.
“This has constituted a layback to these students, but with what is currently on the ground, which in the next three months we are going to accomplish, it will change the story.
“We are about having a state-of-the-art international students’ hostel attracted to the university by Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“And by the time we open that up, it is going to attract more of these foreign students, at least in the next year
“They will know that this is already provided for and so, they will have nothing to fear.”
The vice chancellor said that the university was also looking at the possibility of having discounted students fee for foreign students from West African countries.
On his part, Sell said the country was already running some exchange programmes with Nigeria, basically those organised by the European Union, Spanish Women for Africa Foundation and Learn Africa, among others.
He said that the MoU with the university would enable his country to send lecturers in Spanish language or a Chair in Spanish.
He said: “We are first going to send a professor in Spanish that will work within the university, has signed an MoU on that in the Faculty of Arts, Department of Foreign Language and Integrated Studies.
“That will be the seed for the teaching of the Spanish language here.
“Of course, he will start teaching that from the very moment he lands at the airport.
“This is going to bring the two countries closer together, as well as our universities.
“All we are striving to do is to bring people of the two nations very much closer together.
“And this is very important.
“Spanish is not only being owned by Spain and that is why we have the Ambassador of Mexico and that of Equatorial Guinea here with me.
“Spanish is spoken all over the world by over 500 million people, across 20 nations.
“Some of them, just across the Atlantic, kind of your neighbours.
“And so, we want the language to be widely acceptable and learned even here in Nigeria.”
Sell said the signing of the MoU coincided with the celebration of his country’s national day, which comes up on October 15, noting that the two occasions were of great significance to him.
Alfredo Miranda, the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, expressed joy over the signing of the MoU with the university, noting that it was also his first visit to the institution.
Miranda said: “It is an important moment for us.
“I am glad to be here to be part of this auspicious occasion.
“I was invited by my colleague, the Ambassador of Spain, because as he said Mexico has 120 million Spanish-speaking people, making it the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
“Having our lecturers here will open up possibilities to invite more people coming from different Latin American countries and, therefore, benefit from the various academic programmes that will be involved, not only the language but also our culture and activities.
“It will also provide a platform that would enable them to know what we are doing as a people because the most important thing in the world right now is the fact that people across divides are now seeking to learn and benefit from each other in various aspects.”