The Nigerian Universities Commission has called on public universities across the country to initiate ideas that will complement efforts by the Federal Government to improve the economy and diversify it from oil.
It said that as centers of academic excellence, there was the need for Nigerian universities to adopt a change in mindset and rejig the institutional process.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, stated this while speaking on “Nigerian Universities: Thinking outside the box to embrace innovative and positive change,” during a colloquium held at the University of Benin, Edo State.
Rasheed, who was represented by an official of the NUC, Dr. Suleiman Yusuf, decried the inability of some universities in the country to comply with the establishment of research administration directorates with a view to addressing the lull in research activities in such institutions.
According to him, research outputs from Nigerian universities must deliver tangible results for the growth and development of the economy, rather than existing mainly for the purpose of academic promotion.
He said, “Depreciation of quality academic programmes leading to the mass production of certificated illiterates under the guise of sundry programmes can never be justified as means of addressing budgetary shortfalls.”
He, therefore, noted that Nigerian universities must begin to think “outside the box” in order to raise funds, as government subvention could no longer meet their recurrent and capital expenditures.
The NUC boss listed areas with opportunities for internally generated revenue for universities to include agriculture, information and communications technology, endowment fund and other investments capable of financing its recurrent expenditure.
Rasheed said, “We must broaden and diversify our internally generated income base, bearing in mind the fact that there is a limit to which we can exploit students fees and charges as means of IGR.
“The critical thinking skills which universities are expected to instigate in their students constitute a critical component of the arsenal required, if the Nigerian university system is to live up to expectations in leading the way in our quest for innovation and positive change.”
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, explained that the colloquium was organised to honour 17 members of the institution who were appointed as heads of federal and state parastatals.
Orumwense noted that achievements of the university positioned it as a resource-based institution for government.