The committee of Vice-Chancellors has presented a report on the challenges, including funding, staff recruitment, and university autonomy, among others, encountered by universities in the country to the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman.
In a statement signed by the secretary of the committee, Prof Yakubu Ochefu, in Abuja last week, the committee, led by the Vice-chancellor, the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, said the delegation, during the presentation, had the opportunity to discuss several critical challenges faced by public and private universities in the country.
The meeting, which was held at the Federal Ministry of Education Secretariat in Abuja, was attended by the Minister of State for Education, Dr. Yusuf Sununu, and the Permanent Secretary, David Adejo.
In her speech, Prof Salami highlighted some key challenges faced by universities, including funding, recruitment of staff, universities’ autonomy, aspects of university laws that conflict with other laws and unending industrial disputes with university-based unions.
“Professor Salami presented the committee’s study report on challenges, opportunities and sustainable models for Nigerian federal universities as their input to finding lasting solutions to the challenges facing public and private universities.
“She thanked the minister and his team for the warm reception. She formally invited them to the diamond jubilee celebration of the committee, which takes place from October 9 to 11, 2023 in Abuja,” the statement read.
In his response, the minister assured the delegation that the President, who is a visitor to all federal universities, was very serious about turning the nation around.
He said the President’s approach to governance was very business-like, adding that all his ministers would be subjected to quarterly performance reviews.
The minister said the ministry under his watch, would address the fundamental structural issues from primary to tertiary education and work with all stakeholders to ensure the sector was turned around.
He noted that a key focus for the universities would be aligning educational outcomes to national productivity, research innovation and entrepreneurship among graduates, to promote self-reliance and reduce dependence on white-collar jobs.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Education, Dr. Sununu highlighted the security issue in Nigerian universities and referred to the recent kidnapping of students at Federal University, Gusau, in Zamfara State.
He also acknowledged the seriousness of the matter and expressed the government’s commitment to addressing it adequately.