Summit charts way forward for tertiary education in Nigeria
By Ada Anioji
A summit of Nigerian academics and book sector professionals has risen with a blueprint on how to revamp the tertiary education complex in the country, The Difference reports.
According to the communique from the event, the turnaround would be accomplished by diligently implementing the proposals in the communique from the session which took place on May 12 in Ikeja, Lagos.
Tertiary Education Summit Communique at the 2023 Nigeria International Book Fair, 22nd Edition
Participants at the maiden Tertiary Education Summit at the 22nd Nigerian International Book Fair 2023 in Lagos on May 11, 2023 which had as theme: ‘Fresh Ideas for Overhauling Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Complex,’ rose from the session with the following resolutions:
- Acknowledged that poor funding is an overarching challenge in the Nigerian Tertiary Education complex. The present 8.2% in Nigeria’s 2023 budget is still inadequate;
- Called for the full and formal enactment of a National Book Policy for the country, as it will help bring in greater degree of sanity as well as enhanced opportunities for robust and accelerated growth in the broader education and book ecosystem;
- Underscored the need to recognise and appreciate the centrality of education, and in particular, tertiary education, in the national development complex and insist on an overhaul of the current ‘business as usual’ dispensation;
- Noted in particular the continued paucity of locally produced content for Nigeria’s Tertiary Education complex, and while appreciating some recent efforts to address this, particularly urged NERDC and TETFund to interface more robustly with stakeholders in the book trade towards reversing this situation;
- Appreciated the very robust handling of the theme of the session by the Keynote speaker, the Vice Chancellor of University of Benin, Benin City, Prof. Lilian Imuetinyan Salami, and recommended the adoption of the paper as a contemporary foundational document for addressing the challenges in the sector;
- Called for an overhaul of the existing funding model, particularly in the public Tertiary Education arena, to incorporate more robust Alumni and Associations’ involvement, a more appropriate tuition structure and a functional students loans scheme;
- Made a case for improved infrastructure, enhanced motivation of the workforce, and the urgent resolution of many of the morale-depleting conflicts in the sector, including the yet unresolved fallouts of the last ASUU strike through mediated negotiations and innovative thinking;
- Called for an improvement in the collaboration between town and gown to, among others, better avail public and private institutions in and outside the country with capable and quality personnel to meet their staffing needs;
- Emphasized the need to streamline the number of courses and programmes in institutions, decentralise tertiary admission processes and continue to upgrade and review the existing curriculum to include entrepreneurial programmes, deepen character education and redefine programmes to become more attractive to investors and partners;
- Commended the Hon. Minister for Education, Chair of the Committee of Vice Chancellors, Executive Secretary, NERDC, the National Librarian/CEO, National Library of Nigeria, and the Director General of Nigerian Copyright Commission for their roles at the summit;
- Endorsed the plan to host the session annually and called for logistics and financial support from Corporate Nigeria and also education sector institutions and associations;
- And commended organisers for hosting the summit and called for concerted efforts to implement its outcome.