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Biography of Pai Obanya

Pai Obanya is an Emeritus Professor in the Institute of Education, University of Ibadan. He is currently Chairman of Council of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). He sits on the Committee of Experts of Education International (EI), as well on the Board of Directors of HEBN (formerly Heinemann) Publishers PLC. He has in the recent past served as Technical Adviser to the Reform Implementation Committee of the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria, following his earlier work (January-May 2011) as Chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Education.

  • Pai Obanya was educated at the University of Ibadan, where he obtained the B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) degree in Education/French with first class honours, plus a distinction in practice teaching in June 1968. He followed up with a PhD in language education of the same University in June 1973. He also holds the Diplôme Supérieur d’Etudes Françaises of the University of Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire): 1967.
  • Appointed to the academic staff of his alma mater in the Institute of Education as Research Fellow II in August 1971, he rose rapidly through the ranks to the grade of full Professor by October 1979. He was Director of the Institute of Education of that same University from 1980 to 1983, and (while on sabbatical leave from Ibadan in 1984-1985), served as Foundation Dean of Education in Lagos State University (LASU). Between 1976 and 1986, Prof. Obanya produced 11 PhDs, seven of whom became full professors of Education in record time.
  • At the international level, Prof. Obanya was for a decade (1976-1986) Secretary of the African Curriculum Organisation (ACO) during which period he coordinated capacity building initiatives for national curriculum development centres in 22 African countries. He was Programme Coordinator for Education with the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP), based in Morges-Switzerland from 1986 to 1988. He joined the services of UNESCO in August 1988 and served as Deputy Director (1988-91) and- later - Director (1991-1999) of the Regional Office for Education in Africa (UNESCO/BREDA) with headquarters in Dakar-Senegal. He retired from UNESCO in December 1999 with the grade of Assistant Director-General (ADG) ‘for services rendered to the Organisation. He is the designer of Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme and spent the period January 2000 to May 2001 setting up the structures for its effective take-off.
  • Prof. Obanya has been spending his years of ‘very active retirement’ (since he says, ‘you do not retire from Education’) mentoring young academics, in addition to rendering advisory, consultancy, research and training services to international development cooperation agencies, pan-African institutions, national governments, non-governmental organizations, tertiary institutions, and the private sector. It is in this capacity that he played the lead role in the development of education sector strategic plans for thirty-one of the thirty-six states of the Nigerian federation.