Governing council: FG begs ASUU over strike threat

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The acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Chris Maiyaki, said, on Wednesday, that the Federal Government was working to reconstitute the governing councils of universities.

He said the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, had put in place a panel to work on the list.

The NUC Executive Secretary said the councils would be inaugurated once the list was consummated.

Maiyaki spoke at a media parley with education reporters in Abuja on Wednesday.

He was responding to the two-week ultimatum issued by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to the government to reconstitute the governing councils of public universities.

ASUU had on Tuesday given the government a two-week ultimatum to reconstitute the governing councils of federal universities.

“To reconstitute the councils of 61 universities is not a small feat. The government is working to ensure that people who are qualified and with the right pedigree are put in those councils so that they can deliver on Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda. We know ASUU is a body of academics and are concerned about the welfare of their members and the activities in universities but we want them to be patient with the government during this period.”

Speaking on the number of universities in the country, the NUC boss said the commission was committed to expanding access to higher education.

“And for this, the current 272 universities in the NUS are not sufficient to accommodate the ever-growing demand for university education by Nigerian youths. “Each year, Nigerian universities receive close to two million applications, only a small fraction of them are admitted. That is why there is a need for Nigeria to continue to increase access by establishing more universities to meet the demand for quality education in the country,” Maiyaki said

On the initiatives put in place by NUC to boost the nation’s university system, he said the NUC had identified strategic priorities that encompass curriculum development, quality assurance, research and innovation, infrastructure development, and internationalisation, among others.

“To encourage partnerships with industry and promote blended learning, the NUC carried out an extensive review of university curricula from the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard to the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards, which reflect the aspirations of Nigeria to attain a knowledge economy, driven by the 4 Industrial Revolution, known as 4IR, and the 21-century skills.

“The CCMAS features an expansion of academic disciplines from 14 to 17.  The implementation of the new curricula came into effect in September 2023 for the 2023/2024 academic session.

“The implementation framework of the CCMAS makes provision for the training of staff in student-centred tuition-delivery capabilities and development of textual materials to enhance teaching and learning.

“Open and Distance Learning Guidelines In a bid to assure quality in the regulation of the NUS, the Commission developed guidelines to provide a framework for the orderly adoption, integration and mainstreaming of e-learning into the conventional face-to-face modes of teaching and learning in Nigerian Universities, among other objectives.

“This initiative was needed to assure quality in the delivery of university education, via the Open and Distance Education mode, and keep pace with contemporary global best practices. The Commission produced the following guidelines, as part of the efforts to broaden open and distance learning in the Nigerian University System, “ he said.

The acting Executive Secretary said various guidelines, including  Guidelines on Trans-National Education in Nigeria; Guidelines for e-Learning in Nigerian Universities;Guidelines for the Implementation of the National Policy on Open Educational Resources  in Nigerian Higher Education, and the Guidelines for the Establishment of Private Open Universities in Nigeria, have also been churned out by the commission.

“The Guidelines for Transnational Education allows foreign Universities to collaborate in creating high-quality institutions in Nigeria through six competitive models This effort aims at making Nigerian graduates competitive, globally, so as to reduce the need for the nation’s young men and women going abroad to seek university education.

“The launch of these ODL guidelines marks a significant milestone in the history of the NUC towards its dedication to greater quality, equity and access to university education in Nigeria. It all follows from the recommendations for the establishment and expansion of universities, deeper IT penetration, and enhanced competencies in online delivery,” he added.

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