The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, has said the Nigerian educational system is ‘losing a lot’ of foreign grants, incentives and scholarships due to lack of credible data.
He expressed his dissatisfaction during a meeting with directors of academic planning of Nigerian universities in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the country ought to have advanced to a position where data on any subject matter that concerns its educational sector could be readily accessed, rather than statisticians brandishing data which are inconsistent with realities on the ground.
He said foreign grants are usually offered to nations with a solid database of realities in their educational sector.
“As the Executive Secretary of NUC. What if I don’t know the number of students in Nigerian universities and I don’t want to approximate. I should be able to know the number of students in Nigerian private and public universities. Most times, these figures are just concocted by people who really do not know,’’ he said.
According to him, until there was accurate and reliable data, the educational system in Nigeria cannot be taken seriously at both local and international communities.
He said the commission had resolved to resume the publication of accurate statistics for all the universities under its purview.
“There are many international agencies that may want to intervene in our tertiary education sector. But when the data is not there, they will move to the next African country. I found it embarrassing that Nigerian university system has been operating without planning as they lack database,’’ he said.
He also advised the directors to key into the Treasury Single Account, TSA, or CBN Remita account to avoid getting involved in ‘embarrassing financial transactions.’
The Remita is an e-Payments and e-Collections system used by many establishments while the TSA was introduced by the government to ensure effective monitoring of government revenue.
The commission also declared its intention to review all academic programmes run in Nigerian universities with a view to weeding out courses not necessary or relevant to developmental needs.
Mr. Rasheed said the universities regulatory agency would not oppose new programmes that would challenge the status-quo, noting that institutions were at liberty to bring up new course concepts.
The Chairman, Committee of Directors of Academic of Planning of Nigerian Universities, Yahaya Yusuph, in his remarks assured NUC that the collation of data would start as soon as possible.