By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

THE Association of African Universities, AAU, has described Nigeria as a strategic country that it needs to work with in realising it continental initiatives.

Secretary General of the AAU, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, said this in Abuja during a courtesy call of the Association on the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities ,CVCNU.

Oyewole, who said that the AAU was concerned about the growth of higher institutions on the African continent noted that partnership with Nigeria’s Committee of Vice Chancellors would provide adequate network for the association and enrich its relations with the members.

He said:“Africa has the largest number of universities in the world and this cuts across the countries and a sit is Nigeria is with the highest numbers of these universities, the AAU have common membership with the CVCNU so AAU will be glad to collaborate with the committee of vice chancellors that is why we have come to seek your support as CVC to assist the AAU serve her members better”

Açcording to him,“ AAU is concerned about the development of higher institution on the African continent and other groups in the higher education system such as registrars ,bursars librarians and other.”

Speaking on areas of partnership, Prof. Oyewole,who said the AAU as an organ of the African Union Commission will take pride in working with Nigeria”,added that “activities of AAU are not only directed to vice chancellors.”

AAU Director of ICT Services ,Communications &knowledge Management, Nodumo Dhlamini , identified the need to support Nigeria Research Education Network NGREN, saying Nigeria may need to learn from Kenya, South Africa Uganda other countries in North Africa as regards their success stories on provision of internet infracstructure for the benefits of education services.

She called for the restructuring of the management of NGREN stressing that Nigeria need to look beyond personalizing the leadership of the facility.

According to Dhlamini, “we discovered that when KNET was set up in Kenya ,the ownership was taken over by vice chancellors ,they appointed the officers that are there but the reverse is what is happening in Nigeria, when Vice chancellors take over the NGREN it will be more effective”

“NGREN must be able to provide adequate internet facility for the Nigerian university system free from needless tax and meet the needs of the students as well, we really need to look at it without personalizing who has been running it over the years, no one must be injured if we decide to appoint a competitively appointed CEO for NGREN”

“The team also advocated also advocated membership of communication authorities on the management board of NGREN as it is in Kenya ,this they said strategic following the fact that the Communications Authority understands the concept as well and would aid licensing.

“Rising from lessons from COVID if we don’t solve the internet infrastructure issues we will continue to struggle with the digital transformation “

“ Nigeria really need to look at how Kenya, South Africa Uganda and those countries in North Africa are doing and really see what they have done differently interms of internet infrastructure on the university campuses and they can replicate here to better the system, as it is now a university set up that is not digitalise will not be able to compete with the rests of the world” Dhlamini added.

ACE Impact of the AAU, Dr.Sylvia Mkandawire, disclosed that six Nigerian Africa Centers of Excellence are currently participating in the AAU digital education initiative programme.

The Secretary General of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu ,solicited for the support of the AAU in addressing challenges facing Nigerian universities in medical education studies.

Ochefu also said Nigeria is not left behind in the ongoing digital migration in Africa as the CVCNU recently developed an anti-plagiarism detection software called the EagleScan Anti-plagiarism software and has also developed a research repository

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