The National Universities Commission (NUC) in partnership with the British Council has concluded arrangements to deepen relationship on exchange programme that would boost transnational education.
The Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said this at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the commission and the British Council in Abuja on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a High Powered U.K Government Delegation on Higher Education visited the country, British Council Nigeria and the NUC to sign MoU to deepen relationship on digital education.
Rasheed said that the gesture would open up academic spaces for Nigerians.
He said that the country would open up discussion on proper training in developing online digital education component that would boost the nation’s educational sector.
“The National Universities Commission is committed to enhancing access to university education via the Open, Distance and e Learning (ODL) mode.
“However, as regulatory agency for the Nigerian University System (NUS), the commission shall continue to ensure that the quality of programmes delivered via ODL, E-Learning and Transnational Education in the NUS are not compromised by periodically reviewing quality assurance and policies.
“Without doubt, the commission is well disposed to opening up the Nigerian space and thus, align with the realities of the 21st century and global best practices in relation to transnational education,” he said.
The executive secretary said that 2.147 million students were enrolled in various institutions at the end of 2021, representing one per cent of the population.
He, however, said that he was disappointed with criticism on the establishment of new universities on grounds that the country kept producing graduates not prepared for the 21st century.
“We have taken up this challenge and in the last four years, we have developed a strategic plan to reengineer our curriculum.
“We have taken up this exercise and have consulted over 1,000 academics in reengineering the curriculum. We have worked closely with industries to give input to ensure they are captured.
“We have input of international curriculum, we have received a lot of suggestions as regards this and we are sending the draft to the Federal Executive Council in the next few days,” he said.
Rasheed added that the commission would continue to support female academic to attend courses in the U.K.
Responding, Sir Steve Smith, a U.K Government’s International Education Champion, said that the agreement was to develop a long time, sustainable, two-way partnership between universities and Nigeria government and universities in the U.K.
Smith said that the partnership would provide opportunity where a Nigerian student could have the opportunity to have a U.K degree without having to travel to Britain.
He said that the partners were trying to bring down the cost of studying in the U.K while not compromising the quality of the degrees.
He noted that the partnership would be a win-win approach that would offer competition and quality across all sector.
“It’s a very strong relationship and we want to take it further. We’re going to do it in a way that deals with the opportunity of having U.K degrees without having to travel abroad.
“So it’s a very exciting opportunity to meet with very positive individuals and we are very happy to have students come to U.K to study in increasing numbers.
“We also want to be able to work with them at the same quality.
“So, we don’t want to simply turn up here to say most students should come to the U.K.
“We work a partnership with the NUC, trying to find a way where we can offer U.K degrees at a cost, that will enable the families that do not have the money to send their students abroad get the same quality of degrees,” he said.
Also, the Chief Executive, British Council, Mr Scott McDonald, said that the council was determined to partner with Nigeria and support the universities to deepen research that would translate into growth.