Nigerian government urged to set up universities ranking council

Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

Nigerian government urged to set up university ranking council
Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

The Nigerian government has been advised to set up a Nigerian University ranking council to establish a credible, verifiable, transparent and reliable ranking scheme for universities in Nigeria.

The guest speaker, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo, made this known in Abuja, at the Maiden International lecture Series organised by the National Universities Commission with the theme ‘Global Rankings and the Nigerian Higher Education System.’

The Emeritus Professor said the Nigerian university ranking council will provide platform where expertise would be harnessed to provide a credible framework for the ranking exercise.

“By the time a Council on ranking scheme is instituted, Nigeria will put to rest the problem of internal and global ranking of Nigerian universities,” Professor Banjo said.
He stated that the council will be funded through the Universities Commission while it gives periodic report to the federal government.

The former Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan and a former president of Academy of Letters, Ayo Banjo, stated that the NURC in its terms of reference should determine the number and kinds of ranking that will be undertaken in the Nigeria university system.

“The council will develop underlying philosophy and key objective of each of its kinds of ranking, it should formulate the ranking criteria and assign meaningful weight to them,” they said.

On the sustainability of the activities of the council, Professor Ayo Banjo said that the council will need to develop and implement a strategic plan which should address diverse relevant issues such as Research, Research management and fund generation.

He advised that the council in formulating its criteria should be cognizant of the Berlin principles on ranking of Higher Education Institutions which states that ‘a framework for the elaboration and dissemination if rankings’

On the objectives of ranking, the Emeritus Professor said it responds to demands from consumers for easy interpretation of higher education.

He noted that ranking was first introduced in the United States of America in 1983, he added that this opened gates to diversity of ranking schemes introduced by several organisations.
He said for Nigeria to be listed among top universities of the world, the university’s regulatory body can adopt strategies for continual enhancement of its competitiveness, transparency and accountability as well as periodic evaluation of its performance level.

Responding to the lecture, Professor of linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Francis Egbokhare, said there is the need to reinvent ranking scheme for the development of Nigerian university system.

Egbokhare added that there is also the need to localise ranking with global framework standard.

He stressed that ranking scheme for universities in Nigeria should be dynamic and use to catalyse the development of the Nigeria university system.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Dr Abdullahi Bapha, said the call for the establishment of a council on ranking for Nigeria Universities was unnecessary as a department or unit of the universities commission can handle programmes on ranking.

He argued that the Nigerian Academy of Letters should not be relegated to handling mundane issues such as local ranking scheme.

The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed said the commission organised the event so as to reposition Nigerian university system.

“The lecture became imperative following the low rating of Nigeria universities by ranking agencies across the globe,” Rasheed said.

The guest speaker, Professor Emeritus Ayo Adebanjo, was a two time former Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, former Pro Chancellor University of Port Harcourt and University of Ilorin.

He is also a veteran university Administrator and former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters.