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Nigeria to join world innovative, technology league – NUC scribe

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National Universities Commission (NUC) said all necessary arrangements have been concluded by the country to join the league of innovative economies in the world so as to advance science technology, agriculture and health sectors.

Executive Secretary of the agency, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who is also the Chairman, Review Committee of the Africa Centre of Excellence disclosed at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State during the sixth Nigerian Universities of Excellence meeting.

“We are also interested in Nigeria joining the league of innovative economies since the world economy is today moved by Information Communication Technology (ICT) through strong science, technology and engineering.

That is why three of our centres are into science and technology,” he said. In a related development, NUC has constituted a Committee with the responsibility to make university education more accessible to the teeming youths, who are seeking tertiary education. Prof. Rasheed, said this at a stakeholders’ seminar organised by the University of Bradford and Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), in Abuja.

Rasheed, who was represented by a Director in his office, Chris Maiyaki, said the commission was worried over the country’s growing population and the high demand for tertiary education.

He wondered how the country’s 143 universities (public and private) could only accommodate 500,000 students, which is merely 6.7 per cent of the youths seeking admission yearly. Rasheed said: “Nigeria is projected to be the third largest population by the year 2050. The concern of NUC is how to educate this number of population when the time comes.

“NUC has just inaugurated a committee headed by Prof. Peter Okebukola to come up with a blueprint that will help the country to survive the population. As you know that on annual basis, we have 7.5 million students aspiring to get admission to the universities, unfortunately the available 143 universities can only admit 500,000 students.”

The Executive Secretary said the commission was making efforts to ensure that Nigerian universities catch up with global happenings, and commended some Nigerian universities for partnering with the University of Bradford, United Kingdom, for joint research and teaching. Seven Nigerian universities have signified interest to join the World Technology Universities Network (WTUN) led by the UK universities.

They are the University of Benin, Edo; University of Port- Harcourt, Rivers; University of Calabar, Cross River; Akwa Ibom State University; University of Uyo; Niger Delta University and African University, Bayelsa.

The universities championing this course of the centre of excellnece, according to Rasheed, include Bayero University, Kano; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Jos; Benue State University, Makurdi; Africa University of Science and Technology, Abuja; University of Benin; University of Port Harcourt; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and the host, Redeemer’s University, Ede. Meanwhile, Rasheed added that the African Centre of Excellence, a body of universities deliberated extensively on how to deploy health, agriculture and ICT to move the country forward in the areas of agriculture, health, science and technology.

The Coordinating Vice- Chancellor of the Nigeria Private Universities, and Chairman of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria Universities (AVCNU), Prof. Debo Adeyewa noted that the choice of Redeemer’s University for the meeting, was not unconnected with its research efforts in providing solution to some infectious diseases in the last two years.

Adeyewa, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the faithbased university, however, commended the Federal Government for funding research in the country, even as he challenged the government to set aside more funds for research to solve local viruses and diseases.

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