NUC Set To Boost Access To Varsity Through Transnational Education

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has said that it will explore the potential of transnational education to address the challenge of limited access to university education in Nigeria.

The acting executive secretary of NUC, Mr Chris Maiyaki, made this known in Abuja when he received the president and principal of King’s College London, Professor Shitij Kapur, who led a delegation to the commission.

The delegation was in Nigeria to explore possible ways of collaboration between the United Kingdom and Nigerian universities, especially on Transitional Education (TNE) and to discuss quality education in Nigeria in relation to online learning and TNE.

The visit also afforded the college the opportunity to study the quality assurance framework of the NUC in relation to online learning and transnational education in Nigeria.

Welcoming the delegation, Maiyaki commended them for visiting the Commission first before proceeding to Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), where the delegation would be headed for a possible collaboration.

He said it was the right thing to do considering the commission’s role as the nodal point of all correspondences relating to university education in the country.

Maiyaki lamented that with the very low enrolment of students into the Nigerian universities due to lack of access and limited carrying capacity of the existing institutions, it had become imperative to open up access to countries to bring education to the youths.

According to him, the belief was that this would be an excellent response to the call for reinvention on how university education was delivered to students.

He cautioned on the risk of providing transnational education such as regulating the content, the teachers and what should be taught, noting however that the framework developed by the commission provided the assessment modes to ensure credibility and transparency.

He briefly gave a background on the emergence and rapid growth of university education in Nigeria from 1948 to date and revealed that the NUC currently has a total number of 265 universities under its supervision.

Maiyaki said the duty of regulating, coordinating and ensuring orderly development of quality university education in Nigeria today rests solely with the commission, saying this has been achieved so far through a number of quality assurance mechanisms that keep getting reviewed to suit the times.

He added that part of the efforts of the commission towards playing its significant role included the development of a guideline for transnational education which had to accommodate the online learning mode of delivery.

This, he said, had caused the commission to come up with six competitive models as guidelines for online learning.

Maiyaki said the commission had just reviewed its Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) to allow the inclusion of peculiarities of universities with the ratio of 70-30 components that the new CCMAS allowed, disclosing that the shift was to allow for a rich curriculum for universities to create a niche for themselves while delivering their content.

He said the idea was to place the curriculum in the domain of the universities where it belonged.

“In the future, the whole curriculum will be developed entirely by the universities with the NUC only regulating the process,” he said.

Director, Open, Distance and e-Learning, Dr Kayode Odedina, gave a detailed analysis of how the online mode of learning was administered in Nigeria and what is expected of a country seeking to explore a transnational education model.

He disclosed that there were currently four guidelines for distance education mode of learning in Nigeria.

Odedina said Nigeria is not in the business of providing a 100 per cent online mode of education delivery as the country still requires some form of face-to-face contact between the students and their lecturers.

He informed the delegation that out of the 260 universities approved by the NUC, there are five open universities, explaining that the Federal Government owned the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) while the other four are privately owned.

The team leader, Professor Shitij Kapur explained the importance of their visit to Nigeria, which he said was to re-establish the link the college had with the country.

He added that it was also to yield to the demands of a newer way of delivering education due to COVID and the challenges faced while it lasted, which had resulted in the embrace of an online mode of education.

He added that Nigeria has had a very high appetite for education and has emerged as a star in delivering quality university education judging from the calibre of graduates it has produced as well as the massive number of Nigerians found all over the world seeking one form of education or the other.

The President said a relationship had been sparked between ABUAD and their College in London to start an online learning programme and uncover prospective opportunities that the relationship might foster.

He pointed out that ABUAD remained the College’s point of entry into the country with the hope that the union would significantly serve as the starting point for the College in Nigeria.

He said it was important to seek counsel from the regulators of university education in the country to help guide the College on the best way to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ABUAD.

This he hoped would help seal the meaningful relationship better and also benefit everyone.

Professor Kapur remarked that the development of University education in Nigeria was fast compared to the United Kingdom which had only 154 universities after 700 years in existence.

He however, realised that though the two countries have different histories, their future was quite aligned due to shared challenges of access, equity, skills gap, entrepreneurship and linking of the industry to universities which were quite similar for both countries.

Tribune

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