A report on the challenges faced by universities in the nation has been presented to the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman by the committee of Vice-Chancellors.
The committee, led by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), issued a statement that was signed by the Secretary of the committee, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, on Wednesday morning in Abuja.
According to the statement, the delegation had the opportunity to discuss “several critical challenges faced by public and private universities in the country” during the presentation.
The State Minister of Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu and the Permanent Secretary, David Adejo, were also present at the meeting which took place at the Federal Ministry of Education Secretariat in Abuja.
In appreciating the minister, the Chairman of the committee thanked the minister for “allowing the delegation to officially congratulate him on his appointment as the first serving Vice-Chancellor to become a Minister of Education.”
Her speech stressed “funding, recruitment of staff, universities’ autonomy, aspects of university laws that conflict with other laws and unending industrial disputes with university-based unions.” as some pressing challenges encountered by universities."
“Professor Salami presented the committee’s study report on “Challenges, Opportunities and Sustainable Models for Nigerian Federal Universities” as the VCs' contribution to seeking solutions to the challenges experienced in private and public schools across the nation.
The statement added, “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 the 9th to 11th October 2023 in Abuja.”
Responding, Prof Mamman assured the delegation of President Bola Tinubu's commitment to turning the nation around, being a visitor to all federal universities.
The minister noted that the President's business-like approach would require all his ministers to quarterly performance reviews.
"The ministry under his watch will address the fundamental structural issues from primary to tertiary education and work with all stakeholders to ensure that the sector is turned around," the minister said.
Prof Mamman added that universities would focus on aligning educational outcomes to national productivity, research innovation and entrepreneurship among graduates to promote self-reliance and reduce reliance on white-collar jobs.
Dr Sununu, in his response, emphasised security issues in Nigerian universities.
He also referred to the recent kidnapping of students at the Federal University Gusau, noting the seriousness of the issue and expressed the government’s commitment to addressing it.