The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, on Monday enjoined West and Central African sub-regions to collectively confront educational challenges if they must make progress in the sector.
Okojie made the call at the African Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting in Abuja.
“We are indeed in an era of regional integration where focus is on meeting the demand for skills required for the development of the region.
“It is also on strengthening the capacities of our universities to enable them deliver high quality training and applied research, especially in science related education,” Okojie said.
He reminded the PSC members of their mandate to review and provide guidance on the overall results and progress, as well as take actions to improve the benefits of the ACE project to the region.
According to him, it is the responsibility of the PSC to call for regional collaboration and higher education and also act as a liaison between the programme, regional leadership and the public.
He charged stakeholders to fully key into the project, which he said participating governments and the World Bank had invested huge financial and human resources to institute and ensure its success.
“We must therefore embrace the tasks of overall guidance, evaluation and implementation of the ACE project and work together to address our common regional developmental challenges,” Okojie said.
In his opening remarks, the secretary-general of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Prof. Etienne Ehile, said the successful completion of the ACE selection process, inspired Nigeria and Senegal to take the decision to fund additional three centres and one centre of excellence respectively.
Ehile said the same merit-based approach that was used to select the previous 15 ACEs was applied to the proposals submitted by the two countries.
He noted that the number of selected ACEs had now increased from 15 to 19. (Leadership)