28th Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) – FUTA 2013
The Nigerian University System and the Challenges and Prospects of Globalisation.
The Nigerian population is now estimated at 170 million, yet our current systems and institutions only directly reach a small minority. Besides, the country faces daunting social and economic challenges. Unless we come up with a very different vision for the future, large segments of our population will be excluded from the benefits afforded to a highly educated and skilled population, and most of our products would be unable to contribute meaningfully in the development process. We propose that education, and specifically higher education, has the potential to shape and connect the lives, cultures and endowments of people around the country and the world. To do this, however, would call for us to radically re-think the nature of our universities. Just how radical can we permit our vision to be? Are the traditional institutions equipped to create the new reality that is desired or do we require much more dynamic thinking? How do we translate the new vision to reality?
These and more are captured in the sub-themes proposed for discussion below. Under each, a number of provoking questions are asked, and may be expanded.
Nigerian universities hardly place in any visible positions on world university ranking tables.
(Enhancing partnerships between Training Institutions and Social Partners-Employers)
Employers complain that graduates leaving university do not have adequate employability skills. University lecturers are concerned that secondary school graduates come to university with poor learning skills. Discussions in Higher Education (HE) are focusing on the best strategies for developing student learning and employability skills, with the consensus being that it should be the responsibility of both employers and universities, especially in an age where funding remains a major problem of higher education institutions. The role of Higher Education in fostering social cohesion lies in its ability to equip people with the knowledge, skills, competences and attitudes needed to enter and remain in the labour market. The capacity of our institutions’ systems to ensure a supply of highly qualified people mastering the requirements of todays working world and contributing to innovation both as employees and entrepreneurs is crucial and in focus.
As the labour market continues to witness rapid changes, employers have an important role to play in identifying the knowledge, skills and competences needed in employment. To bring the employability and entrepreneurial potential of all learners up to par, communication and active cooperation should be encouraged between our training institutions and employers. It is important that employers from all sectors - private, public and voluntary - are involved in this process.