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VCs present report on varsities’ challenges to education minister

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Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The committee of Vice-Chancellors led by the Vice-chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami, has presented a report on the challenges encountered by universities in the country to the minister of education, Prof. Tahir Mamman.

A statement issued by the committee on Wednesday morning in Abuja and signed by the Secretary of the committee, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, 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 State Minister of Education, Dr. Yusuf Sununu and the Permanent Secretary, David Adejo.

The Chairman of the committee, Professor Salami, conveyed her appreciation to 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.”

In her speech, she highlighted some key challenges faced by universities, some of which include “funding, recruitment of staff, universities’ autonomy, aspects of university laws that conflict with other laws and unending industrial disputes with university-based unions.”

The statement also noted that “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 the 9th to 11th October 2023 in Abuja.”

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 noted that his approach to governance was very business-like and that all his ministers would be subjected 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. 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 response, Dr. Sununu highlighted the security issue in Nigerian universities and referred to the recent kidnapping of students at the Federal University Gusau.

He also acknowledged the seriousness of the matter and expressed the government’s commitment to addressing it adequately.