Dons seek autonomy for varsities in Nigeria, others

Some professors in the education sector have called for “true university autonomy” as one of the solutions to the challenges facing higher education in Nigeria and other African countries.

According to a statement released Thursday and made available to our correspondent, the experts gave this information during an international symposium organized by the Okebukola Science Foundation in partnership with the National University Commission.

According to the statement, experts agreed that African higher education was facing several major challenges that must be tackled to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

“More than 160 higher education experts from 14 countries participated in the virtual event organized by the Okebukola Science Foundation in partnership with the NUC Strategy Advisory Committee, the Africa Progress Group, Ambassador of the Association of African Universities for West Africa, the National Open University of Nigeria. Virtual Institute for Capacity Building in K and Higher Education.

The keynote speaker at the symposium on the theme, “The Grand Challenges Facing University Education in Africa: Taming the Dragon: Professor Peter Okebukola (Moderator) was; Professor Jibril Jaw, Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority of The Gambia; Professor Juma Shabani, Chairman, National Commission on Higher Education Burundi; President of the National Authority for Quality Assurance in Education in Egypt, Professor Dr. Youhansen Eid; Professor Emeritus Nimi Briggs, Chair, Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities; Professor Elizabeth Sarange Abenga, Director of the Pan African University Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences in Cameroon; Professor Olusola Oyewole, Secretary General, African Universities and an Australian Association,” the statement read partially.

Speaking further in the statement, it was noted that the experts identified 12 major challenges affecting the quality delivery of university education in Africa.

“These are the absence of true university autonomy; deterioration in the quality of higher education teachers; research capacity deficit; Use of outdated method of teaching and slow adoption of information and communication technology for imparting quality university education; Lack of capacity of quality assurance agencies.

“Inadequacy of infrastructure/facilities; Management inefficiency; Poor quality of those entering higher education from secondary level; Curriculum irrelevance – Educational programs that do not suit the needs of the labor market; Weak regional integration and language barriers; An African credit Absence of transfer scheme – certificate and diploma, handicap compared to mobility; and low morale and low motivation of university staff due to poor welfare scheme.

“Significant attention was given in the discussion to finding solutions to these challenges. Speakers and participants agreed that the solution lies with all stakeholders and not to burden the government alone. They agreed that the University should have parents, students and , teachers and other staff, university managers, regulatory agencies, the private sector, the media, development partners, community leaders, religious leaders, political elites and actors, all really beneficiaries of the products are the role of the university system in tame the dragon of challenges Have to perform.”

In particular, the participants called for true autonomy to universities, driven by universities becoming less dependent on the government for funding; academic staff through the implementation of intensive and continuous training programs such as those offered by VICBHE. To strengthen the teaching and research capacity of Africa, to ensure that African universities move from glorified secondary schools to better resources of facilities for teaching and research than their counterparts in developed countries; nationally and regionally relevant and globally Improving the relevance of curriculum (curricular re-engineering) to prepare graduates competitive at the level; Improving the delivery of basic education so that those entering universities are of better quality; For regional integration for South-South cooperation Political Commitment; Development of an African Credit Transfer Scheme Accelerated establishment and University of Pan African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency Improving the welfare of Lay’s employees.

The professors further stressed that the sources of financial flow to universities should be increased and this should include payment of tuition fees that were adjusted with the course of study and scholarships for poor students.

In addition, he urged that universities should be more proactive in exploring other ways to secure open funding for higher educational institutions – grants, endowments, mentorship, research – and reduce their reliance on government funding.

“Additionally, governments should source universities for aspects of their funding needs. Governments should also provide university management and governing councils within clearly set government guidelines, recruiting and dismissing staff and, where necessary, Should be allowed to be fully responsible for running the affairs of universities including payment of differential salary.

“Public universities should be allowed to deploy their own resources and as they deem fit to establish facilities for teaching, learning, research and innovation in their areas of interest, capability and expertise.

“Finally, the participants agreed on the need to tighten the recruitment process, especially for teaching staff so that only bright and committed employees are hired, who are required to retain such staff and avoid brain drain. should be given fair remuneration”.

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