The UK Government International Education Champion, Professor Sir Steve Smith, led a high-level education policy delegation from the UK to Nigeria last week, 16 – 20 May 2022.
They met with partners and stakeholders from across Nigeria’s Education sector in Abuja and Lagos, to build on existing efforts to strengthen the UK’s education partnership with Nigeria and in particular in the area of transnational education (TNE).
Professor Sir Steve Smith was joined by 13 high level UK Government and Education sector delegates.
These included the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, Helen Grant MP, CEO of the British Council, Scott McDonald, and Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK international (UUKi).
As one of the world’s leading providers of TNE partnerships’, the UK is looking forward to expanding its global network of TNE partnerships in Nigeria.
The visit of Sir Steve Smith and his delegation demonstrates the importance placed on ensuring that the UK is well positioned to work increasingly closely with Nigeria to help expand its higher education sector, improve opportunities to upskill students and provide wider access to education for all Nigerians.
During their visit, the high-level delegation also met with Sonny Echono, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). UUKi also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) that will improve collaboration between both organisations and increase exchange programme opportunities.
Whilst in Abuja, the delegation met with the Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and discussed how to formalise collaboration to enable high-quality transnational education partnerships with the UK and improve access to education for all children, especially girls.
The British Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Universities Commission (NUC) at NUC headquarters on TNE, to improve access to online education opportunities for Nigerian students. The Executive Secretary of the NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed and Vice Chancellors of Nigerian universities attended the signing.
The visit was also an opportunity to maintain and strengthen dialogue between the UK and Nigeria on girls’ education. The delegation met with the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who shared Nigeria’s progress on girls’ education, while recognising support from UK aid.
In Lagos, the delegation attended the CenturyTech/GL EdTech in schools’ event where Sir Steve Smith and Rupert Daniels, Director Digital, Education, Creative, Consumer and Sports, Department for International Trade, delivered keynote speeches and shared the importance of flexible and personalised online teaching.
At the end of the visit, Sir Steve Smith said:
“This has been an incredibly fruitful visit, and we have received a warm and hugely supportive reception throughout. I am incredibly excited at the prospect of cementing a sustainable, ambitious and equitable bilateral relationship in the crucial area of Higher Education TNE partnerships with Nigeria.
At the behest of the President’s Chief of Staff, and the Chief Economic Advisor to the President, we have laid the foundations of a Joint Working Group, to build on the progress made and I am looking forward to returning to Nigeria later this year with a selection of world-class UK universities, to explore mutually beneficial partnerships, that will enable a more diverse, and equitable outreach.”
The UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, Helen Grant MP said:
“Nigeria is a key partner country for the UK on Girls’ Education programming and support. The UK has supported over 1m more girls accessing education in six Northern states through our Girls’ Education Programme (GEP 3) with UNICEF. Together with the Federal Government of Nigeria, we look forward to continuing to support increasing access to quality education for girls, because educating girls is one of the smartest investments we can make and every girl everywhere deserves the right to a safe, quality education.”
CEO of the British Council, Scott McDonald, said:
“During our visit to Nigeria, I was pleased to announce that through our regional Higher Education programme, ‘Innovation for African Universities (IAU)’, we have established UK-Nigeria grant-funded partnerships worth £600,000, to support systemic change between 20 institutions and organisations. We have also identified opportunities for the further growth of this initiative by working with the Nigerian government and I look forward to seeing the future success of this partnership.”