The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has held a consultative meeting with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), state commissioners of education, vice-chancellors and key stakeholders on issues surrounding the safe reopening of schools nationwide.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Sunny Echono, at the inauguration of the governing councils of the 13 new federal universities in Abuja noted that the federal government is working assiduously to ensure a safe reopening of schools in the country.
He said “The last few days have witnessed very intense consultations by the honourable minister and critical stakeholders in the education sector. We have held meeting with commissioners of education across our states, vice-chancellors of all universities in the country, separate meeting with our various provost and rectors across the collages of education.
“We also held a meeting with the NCDC and few experts in our ministries and agencies, all geared towards finding a solution, assessing the state of preparedness of the country at all tiers and to see how we can work towards a safe reopening of our institutions.
According to Echono, “We believe despite the challenges in the country, there is a need to continue to take steps to ensure that we deliver to our people, quality tertiary education and work towards proffering solutions to our problems, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very glad that our universities and polytechnics are taking a lead in this direction in the area of research, response, equipment and they have been affecting advice to the government on how to address the pandemic.
Inaugurating the council members in The Ministry of Education, Mallam Adam Adamu, tasked the governing boards to block loopholes and come up with ideas that will shore up the internally generated revenue of the universities.
He also called on them to comply with the Federal Character Commission in the appointment of officers.
According to him, “The major critical areas of challenge is inadequate funding as well judicious use available resources, so let me advise you to come up with new creative ways to improve funding in your institution ”
“You will have to block the loopholes where the IGR slides away, I urge you to also comply and respect the rule of the Federal Character Commission in the appointment of your officers.”
He disclosed that visitation panels will be visiting the universities in the next weeks, and called on the new council members to effectively cooperate with the panel.
The minister added that the appointment of the tested and proven appointees into the governing boards is part of the government’s effort to improve Nigerian universities in the next four years.
The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Adamu Rasheed said the inauguration of the council members marks the beginning of a new phase in the introduction of first 12 specialised universities.
“All these specialised universities came about by Adamu vision, and it empowers specialised higher education in the sector to address the needs of the Nigerian society.
“The NUC is also inspired by the Map of 2018-2020 and it has been committed to revitalising Nigeria university education such as urgent fostering skills development and entrepreneur as well as addressing inadequacies in facilities”. Adamu said.
Responding, the representative of the newly appointed chairmen, Prof Funmilayo Monguno, while pledging the best of services from the council members, said the members look forward to cooperation from the minister and the NUC specifically in the provision of useful information.
Among the newly appointed Council chairmen is Prof. Nimmi Briggs who chairs the governing members of the Ndufo Alike University, Ebonyi State.
The universities with new Governing Council Members are Federal University Lokoja, Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Federal University Kashere, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State, Federal University Dutsen-ma, Katsina State and Federal University Jigawa.
Others are Ndufo Alike University of Ebonyi State, Federal University Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Federal University Birnin-Kebbi, Federal University Gusau in Zamfara state and Federal University Gashua, Yobe state.
Federal University of Health Sciences also has new Governing Council Members. The newly inaugurated Governing Council members are to serve for four years.