The annual conference of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) opened on Monday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, creating a platform for the dons to brainstorm on the avalanche of common challenges facing the university education in the country.
The conference, hosting heads of all 143 federal, state and private universities in the country, according to the Vice Chancellor of University of Jos, Professor Hayward Babale Mafuyai, is expected to discuss common problems relating to inter-university cooperation, maintenance of academic standards, staff recruitment, students affairs and international cooperation.
While addressing the journalists monjday in Jos, Mafuyai stressed the importance of the conference to national development, noting that “as VCs, conscious of our responsibility to university education and the need for academic excellence and scholarship, and also aware of the difficulties confronting education, particularly, university education, the AVCNU aims to ensure that university education plays a pivotal role in the human and material development of the Nigerian nation by pursuing joint action in achieving quality education and high academic standards.”
He disclosed that the theme for this year’s conference titled: ‘Quality Assurance and Global competitiveness: A challenge for Nigeria universities’, was carefully selected to address the myriad of problems confronting the country, which he noted had been compounded by the falling oil price on which Nigeria’s earnings largely depend, and the sluggishness in the diversification of the economy which is the inevitable way forward.”
The vice-chancellor further disclosed that several high profile scholars and educational administrators have been invited to deliver papers, which include the vice-chancellor and principal, university of Witwatersrand, South Africa, professor Adam Habib; Executive Vice Chairman and chief-Executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission, Abuja, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta; Former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Universities Commission, Professor Peter Okebukola; former Head of Service of the federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi among others.