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28th Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) – FUTA 2013


28th Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) – FUTA 2013

 

Theme:

The Nigerian University System and the Challenges and Prospects of Globalisation.

The Nigerian population is now estimated at 170 million, yet our current systems and institutions only directly reach a small minority. Besides, the country faces daunting social and economic challenges. Unless we come up with a very different vision for the future, large segments of our population will be excluded from the benefits afforded to a highly educated and skilled population, and most of our products would be unable to contribute meaningfully in the development process.  We propose that education, and specifically higher education, has the potential to shape and connect the lives, cultures and endowments of people around the country and the world. To do this, however, would call for us to radically re-think the nature of our universities. Just how radical can we permit our vision to be? Are the traditional institutions equipped to create the new reality that is desired or do we require much more dynamic thinking? How do we translate the new vision to reality?

These and more are captured in the sub-themes proposed for discussion below. Under each, a number of provoking questions are asked, and may be expanded.

 

Sub-themes:

  1. 1.  The Future of our universities: 21st century perspectives
  • What do we want our universities of the future to look like, and what steps should we take to get there?
  • If building a knowledge society depends on a highly educated and skilled workforce with an international perspective, what role will institutions play in delivering globally literate citizens?
  • Who are the new players in creating a knowledge society of the future? And how will universities collaborate with them?
  • How will universities create partnerships in which innovation flourishes; and how can partnerships advance our global competitiveness?
  • How will institutional collaborations and partnerships shape and create a connected world?

 

 

 

  1. 2.  The Connected world of knowledge and socio-economic realities
  • How might we truly expand access, so the millions of disadvantaged youth may belong in the global workforce?
  • What funding patterns and options are open yet untapped for us to develop competitive programmes and infrastructure?
  • Public/private - an uncomfortable partnership or an opportunity to innovate?
  • Knowledge economies, global challenges and global perspectives - how will universities define their role?
  • How we will measure the benefits of education and how can universities better demonstrate their value?
  • Is internationalisation a real driving force in connecting the world?

 

  1. Getting our universities into the top ranks: best practices in Advancement and Linkages

Nigerian universities hardly place in any visible positions on world university ranking tables.

  • How might Advancement practices help to build infrastructure and facilities required for teaching, learning and research capabilities
  • What sponsorship opportunities can universities leverage to develop faculty capacities
  • What North and South partnerships exist and how do universities harvest such opportunities for their benefits
  • How do we maximise linkages opportunities

 

  1. 4.  Round Table: University Heads Engage Employers in Dialogue

 

(Enhancing partnerships between Training Institutions and Social Partners-Employers)

 

Employers complain that graduates leaving university do not have adequate employability skills.  University lecturers are concerned that secondary school graduates come to university with poor learning skills. Discussions in Higher Education (HE) are focusing on the best strategies for developing student learning and employability skills, with the consensus being that it should be the responsibility of both employers and universities, especially in an age where funding remains a major problem of higher education institutions. The role of Higher Education in fostering social cohesion lies in its ability to equip people with the knowledge, skills, competences and attitudes needed to enter and remain in the labour market. The capacity of our institutions’ systems to ensure a supply of highly qualified people mastering the requirements of todays working world and contributing to innovation both as employees and entrepreneurs is crucial and in focus.

 

As the labour market continues to witness rapid changes, employers have an important role to play in identifying the knowledge, skills and competences needed in employment. To bring the employability and entrepreneurial potential of all learners up to par, communication and active cooperation should be encouraged between our training institutions and employers. It is important that employers from all sectors - private, public and voluntary - are involved in this process.

 

  • How do we kick-start this process?
  • Explore what levels and channels to engage with employers: Do we have a central strategy for employer engagement; do we need one?
  • What structure and mechanisms can we use?
  • Is there a need for student representation on such structures?
  • What model(s) for the consultation of all relevant stakeholders and social partners can we put in place to prepare our citizens for the challenges of life in the 21st century?
  • How do we ensure partnerships based on trust and dialogue that offer mutual benefits for all to make learning more responsive to future needs and increase student motivation by providing a clear context for learning?