‘How Nigerian varsities can be 21st century compliant, globally competitive’
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has tasked tertiary institutions to review their programmes to accommodate hard, soft and digital skills sets.
This, the commission said, would equip students and make them function effectively as global citizens in the 21st century.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, who disclosed this at the investiture of Prof Folasade Ogunsola as the 13th Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), as part of its 53rd convocation ceremony, also stressed the need for the school to partner with government agencies and industries on current trends.
Rasheed, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Chris Malachi, said the university must focus on how students could learn and acquire relevant skills that would enable them succeed in today’s highly dynamic and competitive world.
He also expressed concern over the process of performance evaluation in universities over the years, saying there is a gradual erosion of order in assessments and promotions at all levels.
The NUC chief noted that the intellectual space has shrunken to the extent that there is a subversion of the age-long tradition of the academia.
“It is no longer news that some professors have questionable credentials. You must, out of necessity, ensure that the reward system is based on hard work and academic credibility, and not solely on sentiments or favouritism.
“Another challenge any university aspiring to be among the global best institutions is that of internationalisation in all its ramifications. You need to master and creatively deploy all strategies of internationalisation of higher education in ways that will enhance your institutional global visibility and ranking, facilitate vibrant international collaborations and in the process, attract more international students and staff to your institution of higher learning.
“Perhaps, the first step that should be taken in this regard would be to re-engineer the well known University of Lagos Policy on Internationalisation,” Rasheed said.
While reminding Ogunsola of the tasks ahead, the NUC chief assured of the commission’s readiness to support female academics to reach the highest academic, administrative and technical cadre in the university system, as well as encourage and promote enrollment of more female students across all disciplines.
“We must acknowledge that there are many qualified and competent female professors and academics in our universities, many of whom are making bold marks in various fields of academic and administrative endeavours,” Rasheed added.
In her address, the vice chancellor said the goal of her administration is to enhance the quality of students and make them more intellectually competent, not only for national development, but to shape the future.
Ogunsola noted that if Nigeria’s university system will be returned to its rightful place as the lighthouse that inspires development aspirations, stakeholders must begin to think anew and walk the talk.
“We enjoin stakeholders to come with us on this journey. Let us become the knowledge and innovation hub of Africa and the world with our own distinctive and unique flavour,”Ogunsola said.
At the event were former President Olusegun Obasanjo, family, friends and associates of the new vice chancellor, including the scion of Ogunsola family and former Chairman of Punch, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, among others.