The National Universities Commission, NUC, has said that no fewer than 27 public Universities are connected to the Nigerian Research and Education Network, NgREN.
The network was established to ensure universities communicate, collaborate, access and share resources across national and international boundaries, primarily for the purpose of research and learning and provides any kind of service that supports teaching and research.
It was commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan as the first West Africa and Central Africa research and education network.
Speaking at the inauguration of NgREN Technical Working Group which held in Abuja, the chairman of the board of NgREN and Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, NUC, Julius Okojie, said nine more universities are expected to connect to the network in the first quarter of 2015.
Mr. Okojie said that NUC was able to set up the network when it got financial intervention through the Step- B projects about five years ago.
“You will be amazed that we have one visiting Professor who is at NUC, the video conferencing has been very effective; he has been teaching his courses from NUC to his students at Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto. E-library is also working there, telephoning is also working. We are just trying to increase the content,” he said.
He added that with the help of NgREN facilities that work 24 hours a week, one can access websites of many higher institutions within seconds.
Mr. Okojie explained that it will still be very expensive at this level and private universities may not be able to connect to it now.
“We are saying that by the time we roll out the second phase at $120 at that level many universities would be able to afford it” he said Mr. Okojie added that the technical working groups are expected to improve research platforms, enhance sharing of research facilities as well as improve the teaching and learning environment.
Also speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education, Macjohn Nwaobiala, who represented the Minster of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, called on the groups to commence operation immediately.
“Efforts will be made to provide all the resources that will be required for their assignment,” he said.
He added that the group will come up with documents and policy recommendations that will not only help the NgREN ensure better service delivery to its community but also set standards for other West African Countries to adopt.