Nigeria’s universities long missing in the elite league of global universities, perpetually in the last two decades, not even emerging in the first 3,000 worldwide, are about to change their profile as the National Universities Commission (NUC) began a nationwide training for university administrators in an effort to upgrade standard in the system.
The workshop, which will be carried out in five geopolitical zones across the country, kicked-off at the University of Lagos. Twenty-one universities in the South-West zone were represented.
The two-day workshop, which was on the application of Nigerian University System Management Portal (NUSMAP) in partnership with ICT-based experts, GUCCI CHIS Nigeria Ltd., will also hold in Calabar, Benin, Minna and Abuja.
Delivering his address at the opening ceremony of the event, the Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie, said that the NUSMAP initiative was an on-line application designed to enable universities process, share and communicate data with the commission.
Okojie, speaking through the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello, noted that the initiative would also enable the universities to share data with the public and other government agencies for proper planning and management.
“This new system also has the capacity to capture the activities of all the directorates of the commission, which include Universities Programme Accreditation, Universities Academic Standards as well as University System Annual Review Meeting. It will also capture Universities Research and Innovation, Finance and Budget.
“It therefore becomes imperative for a workshop of this nature as it will further help stimulate the development and efficient management of our university system,” he said.
Okojie said that for the Nigerian universities to improve on their ranking, there was need to embrace modern technology and human resource development.
“I therefore call on the various universities to leverage on the gains of the training and the NUC Data Base (NUCDB), project to improve on the processes, set standards and objectives.
NUSMAP has been tested and is currently in use in some universities in the country; it is a great innovation by all standards with deliverables such as easy access to NUC information on-line on issues relating to students, staff information, university, and course status, among others.
Mr Paul Adingwupu, an Executive Consultant with the ICT experts, GUCCI CHIS Nigeria Ltd., who facilitated the training, said that the initiative would help in improving the ranking of Nigerian universities in the next few years.
He said that with the initiative, NUC was moving from paper work to paperless administration and processes as most of the work would be done on-line rather than going through the rigour of processing with papers.
Adingwupu emphasised that with the initiative, not less than 10 Nigerian universities would rank among the world’s top 1000.
“There will be an improvement in the ranking of our country’s universities with this new initiative because they will be able to access a lot of data within and outside their domain and will be in tune with the latest trend in university management and processes. Before now, it has been the wish for the Executive Director of the NUC to improve on the status and ranking of the country’s universities and with this in place now, I can assure you that in the next one to three years, this will be achieved.
“You know that academic standard has been the bone of contention in our education system and this is one of the measures put in place to enhance it. Remember that if standard is not kept, ranking will be difficult to achieve,” he said.
He said that the initiative would assist candidates applying for admission in the country’s universities to know the status of the courses of their choice. Some of the participants, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), described the workshop as timely and a step in the right direction.
Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, the Director, Academic Planning, University of Lagos, said that the initiative would bring a total overhaul to university management and improve service delivery.
Dr Kayode Adekeye, Director, Academic Planning, Redeemers University, also lauded the initiative, saying it would improve networking among universities nationwide.
The workshop was attended by Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Directors of Academic Planning of Universities and Directors of Information and Communication Technology, among others.