The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, has reiterated that the development of Entrepreneurship Education programme in the Nigerian University System (NUS) would help prepare students to be fit- for- purpose in the Nigerian labour market.
He stated this last Wednesday, when the Commission in partnership with the British Council (BC) kick-started a two-day brainstorming session with Directors of Entrepreneurship Centers of Nigerian universities, aimed at achieving a more productive university education system. He envisaged that Entrepreneurship Education delivery has the capacity to deliver the required momentum.
Prof. Rasheed, stressed that entrepreneurship must be embedded in the curriculum of all programmes thought in the Nigerian universities, adding that entrepreneurship has the potentials to unlock the hidden potentials in students, helping them identify skills that could prepare them for the labour market.
Prof. Rasheed stated that the meeting was a fall out of an earlier one with the Centre Directors organised by the Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (DSDE) of the NUC in November, 2021.
He recalled that after deliberations by participants at the event, a communiqué was issued on certain key resolutions. He said key to effective functioning of Entrepreneurship should be the domiciliation of the programme in the Office of the Vice- Chancellor. This is germane if the university system must attain an enviable height in Entrepreneurship. On the strength of this, the meeting had resolved that the Entrepreneurship Directorate should be domiciled in the Office of the Vice Chancellor to foster effective supervision.
The NUC Scribe said the decision of stakeholders through the communiqué to put in place an operational guideline for effective running of the Entrepreneurship Development Centers (EDCs) in the various universities was novel and imperative in the nation’s quest to produce employable graduates.
He stated that the Commission would continue to encourage ideas; innovations and suggestions that not only make the universities truly entrepreneurial, but also jump start the national economy towards global competitiveness.
The Executive Secretary stated that the Commission had continued to discharge its statutory responsibilities effectively of overseeing the university education system in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure the orderly development of a well-coordinated and productive university system. The Commission had also embarked on series of reforms aimed at revitalizing University Education.
These, according to him, included: Curriculum re-engineering, review of instruments of Quality Assurance, strengthening of the EDCs, guidelines for Open and Distance Learning (ODL), Transnational Education (TNE) and re-invention of Internationalization portfolios in order to realign the NUS with global best practices.
Prof. Rasheed also highlighted that the Commission had continued to ensure the entrenchment of quality teaching and learning in the university system through its developed roadmap for quality assurance activities which included: Verification of new Programmes to ensure adequate human and material resources availability; Programme-Based Accreditation for both undergraduate and post graduate programmes, to ensure they meet the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) as well as Inspection and Monitoring of activities in the Universities for sustainability of standards.
Others include the Evaluation of Students Support Facilities and Services in Nigerian universities; approval of the establishment of Open and Distance Learning Centers to further widen access to university education; ensuring Nigerian University System continue to concentrate on their mandate and the re-constitution of a Committee on Degree mills.
He tasked the participants to actively engage in robust discussions during the workshop technical sessions and to ensure that the knowledge gained is put to good use for the benefit of their respective institutions, and the NUS at large.
In his presentation, the Acting Director, DSDE, Mal. Ashafa Ladan, stated that the meeting would have been held earlier but for exigency of duty coupled with the prolonged ASUU strike, which stalled many activities of the Commission in particular and the University System in general.
He noted that there had been growing need for Entrepreneurship Education delivery in the university system and mindful of the prevailing enterprise challenges confronting Higher Education Space NUC felt the need to engage experts in order to bridge the skill gap and ensure linkages between industries and the universities.
Mal. Ashafa, informed the meeting that the Executive Secretary, upon his assumption of office in August, 2016, and in pursuant to the revitalization ideas of the Federal Government in promoting national development through the educational sector, did set machinery in motion to strengthen the regulatory roles of the Commission.
The essence, he said, was to tackle educational related challenges of economic underdevelopment such as the high rate of unemployed graduates, the poor rate of skilled graduates and the mentality of waiting for white collar jobs.
He further informed the participants that there was the need to re-orientate students, teachers as well as higher institutions to become innovative, skillful and entrepreneurial for self-reliance and sustainability.
He noted that since the discovery that depressed quality of graduates, poor skills development and entrepreneurial challenges were key issues challenging the Nigerian University System, it became imperative for the Commission to establish the Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (DSDE).
He explained that the cardinal objective of the Directorate was to partner with stakeholders to support skills development and entrepreneurship for Nigerian universities, by creating a network of interactions towards creativity and innovation for national development in the entrepreneurial space.
Mal. Ashafa Ladan stated that his Directorate was poised to pursue its mandate and the interest of the Commission with a keen sense of purpose.
He expressed his elation to welcome the esteemed Vice-Chancellors and the Directors of Entrepreneurship Centres in Nigerian Universities, the British Council, and other stakeholders to the meeting, to further deliberate on policy guidelines that will promote the course of entrepreneurship education.
He further told the gathering that university administrators and stakeholders who drive entrepreneurship education for national development will often be invited by the Commission to meet and attend to issues relating to the framework and operations of entrepreneurship centers.
At the event were a member of the NUC Strategy Advisory Committee (STRADVCOM) and resource person, Mr. Tope Toogun, as well as staff of the Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship.