Nigeria’s higher education landscape in need of total overhaul- Minister

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By Funmilayo Adeyemi

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman has called for the total overhauling of the higher education system to put the universities and other tertiary institutions at par with others around the globe.

Mamman made this known while declaring open the 8th edition of the “Libsense” Open Science Symposium in Abuja on Wednesday with the theme:” Advancing Open Science and Collaboration:The role of Stakeholders”.

The event is organised by the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) in partnership with the West and Central African Research Education Network (WACREN) and other partners.

Represented by the Director of University Education in the ministry, Mrs Rakiya Ilyasu, the minister said the ministry is committed to fostering the role of science through partnership from shared knowledge.

“Higher education is an education designed to produce manpower for the social, economic and technological development of the country.

“It is however, unfortunate that our higher education sub-sector is plagued with many challenges such as inadequate funding, corruption, inadequate infrastructural facilities, shortage of academic staff, strike actions, brain-drain, poor research, weak governance and insecurity, among others.

“You will agree with me that, the higher education landscape in Nigeria requires a total overhaul so that it can effectively put Nigeria universities and other levels of tertiary institutions at par with others around the globe,”he said.

The minister added that president Bola Tinubu is aware of the enormity of challenges of Nigeria’s higher education and fully prepared to confront them headlong.

He said in addressing this information the president decision to improve the education budget to 25 per cent with the right policies in place.

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“We need to understand that before we can harness our human resources, we need to be sure of what we need to do to fill in the gaps that have, over the years, inexplicably pulled us back.

“We need to know the extent at which we have met contemporary demands of tertiary education globally and if it is not sufficient, how to address them.

“I passionately appeal to the roadmap committee of the Vice-Chancellor of Nigerian Universities to provide the committee with quality memorandum of how our education sub-sector can be competitive in all ramification,” he added.

Also, the Secretary General, CVCNU, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, said there was need to explore innovative ways on the scientific future of the country.

Represented by the Vice-Chancellor, Kaduna State University, Prof. Abdullahi Musa, said the conference was apt as it would help uncover innovative ways toward research development as well as foster collaboration to new opportunities.

In the same vein, the Chief Strategy Officer, WACREN, Omo Oaiya, said that the symposium would be if immense benefit to the Nigeria academy space as it would increasing the visibility of research in the education sector.

“Nigeria can benefit from this open science in the production of research by the different groups. This will create conversation towards resolving problems associated with research programmes.

” Stakeholders will come up with the kind of roadmap that will describe the work to deliver the goals in terms of producing community driven infrastructure.

“Though, the government need to help but also community can do a little bit more with the support of WACREN.

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“It will further improve efforts of stakeholders to take all of the ideas to campus level connecting with their communities and campus level,” he said.

NAN reports that the national symposium is aimed at increasing open science awareness among primary stakeholders in the country, ranging from university leaders, librarians and Directors of ICT.

Nigeria, however, has two member networks of WACREN – the Nigerian Research and Education Networks (NGREN) and Eko Konnect Research and Education Initiative. (NAN)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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