COMMUNIQUE OF THE 17TH CONFERENCE AND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF COMMITTEE OF DIRECTORS OF ACADEMIC PLANNING OF NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES (CODAPNU) HELD ON 10TH – 13TH DECEMBER 2023 AT NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA (NOUN) MODEL STUDY CENTRE, ABUJA, NIGERIA
Theme: Strategic Planning for Sustainable Development in the Nigerian University System
There are a total of 270 Universities in Nigeria, (61 Federal, 63 State and 146 Private Universities). The number is smaller than what obtains in countries with similar populations and good funding.
Universities have significant role and contribution to the overall sustainable development of a nation. There is need for development and implementation of a robust strategic plan to enable impactful contribution of universities to sustainable development requirements. The impactful contribution of universities to sustainable development requires development and implementation of a robust strategic plan.
Universities must take precautionary measures like strengthening online teaching and learning so that any future pandemic will not obstruct university academic planning. These include but not limited to:
i. Use of radio and television stations as part of means of the delivery of teaching and learning especially where internet services could be an obstacle;
ii. Building capacity of academic and allied staff in using technology in teaching and learning;
iii. Provision of online computer training for students, which should preferably start from the first year of study;
iv. Prioritizing e-teaching and e-learning in the strategic plan and ensuring implementation; and
v. Finding creative and innovative solutions to online teaching and learning.
Lack of sound strategic plan is the most critical of all the challenges that confront University education system in Nigeria. Way forward includes effective strategic planning towards the provision of effective leadership and quality teaching and learning, generation and utilization of adequate resources, fighting academic corruption and fraud, improvement of research output and impact, attraction of international students, rebranding Nigerian Universities, and provision of adequate infrastructural facilities.
Sustainable development in Nigerian universities demands a comprehensive and integrated approach that involves all stakeholders. Regular reviews and adjustments of the strategic plan is important to ensure its alignment with emerging trends, technological advancements, and changing needs, enabling universities to serve as role models for sustainable practices while nurturing future generations equipped to address global challenges.
Directors of Academic Planning (DAPs), being the liaison between the National Universities Commission (NUC) and their universities, are very relevant to the operations of NUC. They need to continuously update the institutional data most especially for the purpose of annual collation of university statistics across the nation. Development and update on ‘Academic Brief’ is important to be done by the University. It is important to continuously organize training workshop for Directorate of Academic Planning of Nigerian Universities.
According to the CCMAS, there should be an established mechanism to enable students to evaluate courses delivered to them at the end of each semester. This should be an integral component of the course credit system to serve as an opportunity for feedback on the effectiveness of course delivery. Such evaluation should be undertaken by students at the end of each course. this may be one of the parameters to be used by panels for CCMAS-based accreditation.
Periodic ‘Quality Assurance’ of the university system is important to enable provision of graduates that can complete globally.
CCMAS is a thought in the right direction to place the Nigerian Universities in the global competitive market. Nigeria graduates will be relevant and compete globally. Research and collaboration components that impact on the needs of the society and ranking will take Nigerian university to excellence.
A 21st Century University has to be globally competitive, locally relevant by impacting live and livelihood (SDGs and African Agenda 2063), 21st Century/4IR compliant, entrepreneurial, and with other key indices (quality teaching, research excellence, societal impact, and stakeholders’/admirers’ perception). Credit overload for students need to be avoided to give them space for critical thinking and learning reflection. Three key factors that make a top class University are concentration of talents, abundant resources and favourable governance.
The Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS), reinforced with Quality Assurance in the entire system, has the potential to change the narrative of the quality of the Nigerian graduates, vis-à-vis their quality and competence relative to the needs of the society.
There is need for synergy and shared determination of the Nigerian University System, Organized Private Sector and Government to take advantage of the CCMAS to jointly create enabling structures (Innovation & Incubation Hubs, STI and Industrial Parks, et cetera) to harness the creativeness of Nigerian Youths.
Impact of CCMAS in programme accreditation is to be felt in about five years for programmes with Full Accreditation status and in about three to four years for newly established programmes. There is an urgent need for decisions to be made concerning how proposed new programmes are to address the 30% local contribution.
Effects of CCMAS on accreditation is mostly on four main parameters of accreditation which are: i. Academic matters (especially curriculum, course evaluation and student’s course assessment and evaluation of student’s skills); ii. Staffing; iii. Physical facilities; and iv. Library resources. ‘Manual of Accreditation’ developed by NUC in 1989 and revised in 1999, 2012, and 2020 respectively needs to be revised in relation to CCMAS and with reintroduction of pre-accreditation training of Panel Chairmen.
It is important that DAPs are involved in resource verification and accreditation exercises as an opportunity to garner experience. However, such involvement must not clash with when same DAPs are having simultaneous exercise in their universities.
NUC needs to address the issue of multiple programme accreditation by professional Councils based on the huge financial implication on Universities.
The Conference underscored the significance of strategic planning, sustainability, and quality assurance in Nigerian universities. The recommendations are poised to address challenges and enhance the effective implementation of CCMAS, reflecting a commitment to the continuous improvement of the Nigerian University System.