Stephen Ibelli, Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, says the U.S. Mission is committed to building long term partnership between Nigerian institutions and the United States.
Ibelli made this known on Tuesday, at the Inaugural Nigerian Higher Education Conference, held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The conference was themed: “Opening New Frontiers: Mobilising Stakeholders to build Long Term Partnership Between U.S. and Nigeria Institutions of Higher Education.
According to him, the conference is to explore opportunities to forge institutional partnerships between U.S. and Nigerian universities on international joint and dual degrees.
It is also to promote virtual and in-person faculty and students’ exchanges.
“The world has changed since the pandemic as we leverage technology to innovate in many work spaces and education, so this is why we are here to bridge the gap of technologies between American and Nigerian Universities.
“The conference would help us to learn from each other as we establish good networking between each other, which in turn would be of great reward for the students and universities,” he said.
Ibelli described Nigeria as the most strategic partner of the U.S in Africa, noting that 13,000 students come to the U.S. yearly for education.
He said that hybrid and online programmes were being encouraged amongst universities so as to increase their revenue generation.
“Nigeria ranks as the tenth country in the world in which students come to the U.S. for world class education and its diversity.
“It is important to leverage the technology and connect one another using the Nigerian and American system to find that common ground so as to forge a new chapter in both countries,” he said.
Mr Chris Maiayaki, Deputy National Secretary of the NUC, said that major reforms were being carried out across universities in the country.
He said that the present curriculum was being reviewed so as to be up to global practice.
“Nigerian universities are going to transnational education, e-learning, as we have realised that we cannot operate on our own terms and we must move with what is happening around the world.
“We need to reboot our educational system by carrying out reforms, and also, the current curriculum being used has to be in tune with the rest of the world.
“We also expanding our international portfolio, our mainstream education, as we know that this and many others would help strengthen our educational system,” he said.
He said that the NUC would be issuing licences to 12 private universities on Thursday.
This, he said, would help in bridging the shortfall of universities in the country.
He said that the industrial action experienced in universities would be resolved, as all major stakeholders were keen on finding a long lasting solution to the issues.
Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) said that the country needed to analyse the philosophy of education, especially in the age of technology and revolution.
He said that governance, proper funding and compensation models were key components in improving the educational sector in the country.
Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, said that the conference would help in improving the universities in the country.