A University of Bath academic has launched a scheme to send surplus management textbooks to universities in Nigeria and hopes to expand the project to benefit students in other African nations, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
Teslim Bukoye, Associate Professor in the School of Management, said the idea for ‘Readcycle Bath’ was born when he and his colleagues moved into the new campus School of Management building.
“We found, as we were all clearing our old offices, that many of us had very recent editions of valuable management textbooks that were no longer being used – I thought, how wonderful if we could collect these and ship to universities and students who could benefit from them,” Bukoye said.
“These are not old books – often management textbooks are re-issued regularly with small changes – so their contents remain valid. I put out a call to my colleagues and their response was marvellous – we have already shipped hundreds of management textbooks to Nigeria and I am confident we can do more,” he said.
Bukoye said his role as Director of International Exchanges involved enhancing the academic experience of students in high income countries (HIC) in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America. But he said he wanted to extend support to students in low and middle income countries (LMIC) and universities in line with the University’s aims around meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as improving education, and reducing inequality and poverty.
“Nigeria seemed a logical place to start – there is a very large student body, i.e. 12.1% enrolled in higher education out of 213 million population (Times Higher Education, 2023), in need of support. I was born there and I have connections with the academic community so it was a good place to pilot the scheme and build our experience before we cover other countries and regions,” he said.
Bukoye said the genuinely simple act of donating a book and benefiting an individual student has a significant multiplier effect on society, education, equality and wealth distribution in developing nations.
“I think the power of books resonates with us all, and particularly academics. We have had the most fantastic response – both from those donating the books, and those receiving the books in Nigeria. It is very heartening and I look forward to us expanding the scheme,” he said.
Bukoye said the scheme was being supported by senior management at the University, and colleagues in other areas, such as Engineering, had expressed an interest in joining the scheme. The University is also looking into how online and e-learning materials and tools might be shared.