The Executive Secretary National Universities Commission, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL last Thursday, received a delegation from the Embassy of Sweden led by the Ambassador-designate to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund to discuss ways of addressing the digital entrepreneurship skills in Nigeria.

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary welcomed the delegation and commended them for the timely visit. He said Sweden is one of the few countries that has sustained its development over the years by abating any crisis that might rock its very peaceful existence.

He said countries all over the world must borrow a leaf from  Sweden as peace builders and promoters and expressed his delight that the Sweden Embassy has demonstrated interest in the plight of Africa and Nigeria.

He went on to state that Sweden has about 39 Universities and each of these Universities could be a role model to Universities in Nigeria. He further stated that the National Universities Commission was ably represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr Chris J. Maiyak at the National Sweden day that held last week.

The Executive Secretary informed the delegation that NUC celebrated its 60th Anniversary last year and briefly recounted how the National Universities Commission came into existence with the establishment of the first six generation universities in the 1960s. He revealed that university education was initially dominated by public universities until 1999 when the first three private universities were approved, and presently, there are about 267 Universities in Nigeria, some of which still undergo the process of being validated, they include the University of Transport, Daura, African Aerospace University, owned by the Ministry of Aviation and the National Skills University championed by the Ministry of Communication.

He stated that digital revolution took the centre stage as one key area of knowledge  revolving the world presently.

It affects the way people manage resources and live their lives. Professor Rasheed further revealed that 37 other private universities were scheduled to receive their provisional licenses shortly.

The exercise would bring the number of private institution to 147. He therefore advised that private organizations, key foundations and Philanthropists  should be greatly encouraged to invest in education through  establishment of private universities under the NUC Transnational education programme.

He added that 4 out of the 37 private universities being licensed would be centrally open online Universities, they include: Miva Open University, Abuja and Al-Muhibah Open University, Abuja, West Midland Open University, Ibadan and Iconic Open University, Sokoto.

The Executive Secretary also suggested that a meeting on digital entrepreneurship skills and Global Wissen Consult should be organized  with selected Vice-Chancellors each from the public and private universities in each geo-political zones of the country as well as Directors of Entrepreneurship and Director of ICTs of the Universities. The meeting should be on 4 critical areas: Subjecting the knowledge, improving the community, collaboration and utilizing the resources.

He further stated that NUC and the delegation of Swedish Embassy/Global Wissen Consult would come together to develop the text of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the concept of the MoU to be acceptable to both NUC and the Swedish embassy. He added that the MOU would be signed on the day of the meeting with the Vice-Chancellors, the Directors of Entrepreneurship and ICT. The Executive Secretary informed the delegation that a copy of the transnational guidelines and all the models available should be sent to them with the hope that some investors across Nigeria would have access to quality Swedish education.

In her speech, the Ambassador-designate to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund thanked the Executive Secretary for the warm reception accorded them and stated that the embassy has been working with Global Wissen Consult (GWC) to address the digital entrepreneurship skills in Nigeria by delivering digital learning to the youths through modern ways of learning. She advised NUC to help students go beyond vocational to digital skills so that the students could be competitive in the global market economy.  In the past two years, the Global Wissen Consult collaborated with some universities and implemented a digital entrepreneurship programme with the already existing entrepreneurship studies on digital and business skills to ensure that they implement business education programmes with entrepreneurship development centres, she stated. 

She further said that Digital Entrepreneurship encompassed IT based skills and internet based skills where students/youths were taught how to develop various apps to grow their businesses. She urged Universities to embrace information technology and digital entrepreneurship, advising that NUC should help to promote and invest in digital education and digital skills in line with its goals because digital entrepreneurship skills could help to market any type of business. She said, part of the plans for the year by the Swedish embassy was the Swedish education day where different activities were lined up to promote  Swedish Culture.

On the NUC team were Mr.  Chris J. Maiyaki, Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), Dr. Noel B. Saliu, Deputy Executive Secretary (Academic), Mr. John Mairafi Ahmadu,Director, Executive Secretary’s Office, Mr Ashafa Ladan, Acting Director, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Joshua Atah, Special Projects Coordinator, Prof Joseph Ahaneku, Visiting Prof (NUC). The Delegation From Sweden Embassy had Annika Hahn-Englund, Her Excellency, Swedish Ambassador-designate to Nigeria, Elohor Ellen Folaranmi, Embassy of Sweden, Nathaie Sunderlen, Global Wissen Consult, Swedish-Nigeria, Nwokesi Oscar, Global Wissen Consult, Swedish-Nigeria.