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FG to reform universities governing councils

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Nigerian universities are unable to meet the increasing demand for education.

Chris Maiyaki, the acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, has revealed that the federal government is currently taking steps to reform the university governing councils. He mentioned that the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has already begun compiling the necessary list for this purpose. During a press briefing in Abuja, Maiyaki addressed Education journalists, stating that the councils would be established once the list was finalised. In response to ASUU’s two-week deadline for the government to reconstitute university governing councils, the NUC chief reiterated the commission’s dedication to increasing Higher Education opportunities.

With nearly two million applications received each year, he said Nigerian universities are unable to meet the increasing demand for higher education from Nigerian youth due to the limited number of universities available, currently standing at 272. Consequently, only a small portion of applicants are accepted into these institutions. He emphasised the importance of Nigeria expanding access to education by creating additional universities in order to keep up with the growing demand for high-quality learning opportunities in the country.

Curriculum, standards, research and infrastructure will be enhanced.

He mentioned that the NUC had pinpointed key areas of focus, such as enhancing curriculum, ensuring quality standards, promoting research and creativity, improving infrastructure, and fostering international partnerships as part of the NUC’s efforts to strengthen the country’s higher education sector. Chris outlined how the NUC thoroughly examined university curricula to align with Nigeria’s goal of achieving a knowledge Economy influenced by the 4th Industrial Revolution. This included transitioning from the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard to the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards.

It also involves emphasising the importance of 21st-century skills and fostering collaborations with industry to enhance blended learning opportunities. He stated that the CCMAS now includes an increase in academic subjects from 14 to 17. He noted that the new curriculum was put into action in September 2023 for the academic term of 2023/2024. Additionally, he mentioned that the structure of the CCMAS allows for faculty training in student-focused teaching methods and the creation of educational resources to improve the quality of instruction.

Different guidelines have been set to increase learning and collaboration.

Furthermore, he emphasised that the Open and Distance Learning Guidelines were created to maintain high standards in overseeing the Nigerian Universities System. The commission established these guidelines to establish a structure for the smooth implementation, incorporation, and integration of e-learning with traditional in-person teaching methods at Nigerian Universities, among various other goals. He emphasised the necessity of the initiative to ensure high standards in university education offered through open and distance education, which aligns with modern global standards.

The commission had developed specific guidelines to expand open and distance learning within the Nigerian University System. As outlined by the acting Executive Secretary, the commission has produced a range of guidelines, such as those for Trans-National Education, e-Learning in Nigerian Universities, the Implementation of the National Policy on Open Educational Resources in Nigerian Higher Education, and the Establishment of Private Open Universities in Nigeria, He emphasised the importance of the Guidelines for Transnational Education, which permits overseas Universities to partner in establishing top-notch institutions in Nigeria using six different competitive approaches.

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Lastly, the objective is to enhance the competitiveness of Nigerian graduates on a global scale, ultimately decreasing the necessity for the country’s youth to travel overseas for university education. Chris emphasised that the introduction of these ODL guidelines signifies a major achievement for the NUC in its commitment to improving the quality, fairness, and availability of higher Education in Nigeria. He pointed out that these guidelines are a direct result of the suggestions for the creation and growth of universities, increased use of IT, and the improvement of skills in online teaching.


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