The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, has implored Nigerian Universities to imbibe a harmonized system of quality data documentation and dissemination for public referencing, research and planning in the Nigerian University System (NUS).

He told Directors of Academic Planning (DAPs), and Directors of Information and Communication Technology (DICTs) of Nigerian Universities, at a one day sensitization workshop hosted by the NUC recently that the Nigerian University System (NUS) had expanded over the years and currently has 172 Universities.

This growth, he said, was largely due to increased demand for diverse high-level human resource for national development and increased demand for university education occasioned by population growth and awareness.

He said: “No organization or nation can successfully report on its mandates or implement development agenda without good quality data.

He said that, statistics played a major role and was  indispensable for planning and development at organizational or national levels, adding that  for the 2019 publication, a full-fledged web-based database system would be deployed.

According to him the essence of this meeting was to present the new application to DAPs and DICTs from Nigerian Universities in preparation for data collection; and to discuss how best to speedily collect the data and solicited for meaningful contributions on the process from the participants who he described   as critical partners.

He emphasised that the meeting with the DAPs and the DICTs, was very crucial considering  the fact that the Commission had continued to deploy web-based applications for the collection of data and information from the NUS, thereby providing an enabling platform for information sharing among the universities.

The NUC scribe explained that it was in the light of this that the NUC, in the last two years, revamped the data collection processes to which it had successfully published two editions (2017 and 2018) of the Nigerian University System Statistical Digest. According to him, this document had served as rich resource for the Government, Universities, World Bank, Development Partners as well as other stakeholders in the higher education business.

He stressed that the collection of data for the year 2019 was to provide information and data on various segment of the NUS within the 2018/2019 academic session.

The Executive Secretary said the scope of the data collection had been expanded to among other things include those at programme level and affiliate institutions; with an extension to other variables in subsequent exercises. He told the universities to understand that the data collection was not meant for programme  evaluation, but for statistical purposes only. In his remarks, the Acting Director, Directorate of Research, Innovation and Communication Technology (DRICT), NUC, Mr. Lawal Faruk, informed the Participants that the 2019 Statistical Digest and Data Inputs was crucial, reiterating that the Commission had published two sets of the (NUS) Statistical Digest and had commenced the process of publishing the Third Edition.

In his words, “It is exciting that the Commission has initiated a convenient and reliable process of data collection, collation, analysis, and dissemination using ICTs. As we all know, data collection is a challenging task and it involves many issues that must be addressed so as to win the confidence of all players before the commencement of such exercise”.

Mr. Farouk stated that the planning phase for the Third Edition had a lot of changes made to the data fields over the first and second editions, thereby introducing another platform for data collection and collation different from the earlier ones deployed. The changes, he said, necessitated the need for the meeting to demonstrate the processes and usage of the data inputs tools, and arrive at time frame for the exercise.

The NUC Director of Academic Planning, Dr. Noel Saliu, who gave a breakdown of relevant areas through which data could be collated, said universities were to provide information oncost of teaching, report on research, reports on community service as well as report on academic development of the university within the period under review.

Dr. Saliu also said that universities should provide information on the physical development of the university, challenges as well as prospects for 2020. He stressed the need for universities to provide upto date information academic programmes run in their respective institutions, data on students’ enrolment for the year 2019, total students graduated, academic and non-academic staff, amongst others.

The meeting also had in attendance the NUC Directors of: Directorate of Executive Secretary’s Office, Mr Chris Maiyaki; Accreditation, Dr. Maryam Sali; Human Resources, Mr. Boniface Odum; Ag. Director, Directorate of Students, Mrs. Laurretta Achor.