Nigeria tasked on academic qualification equivalence

Temitope Mustapha, Cairo


Nigeria has been urged to come up with appropriate framework and guidance for qualification equivalence, following the failure of some African countries to sign the Arusha convention.

The former President of the Association of African Universities, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, made the call in Cairo during the Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities.

Professor Oloyede who decried that only few African countries have signed the Arusha convention hinted that with Nigeria providing framework and qualification equivalence, it will promote academic mobility, regional and international cooperation for the country in the area of education.

According Prof Oloyede: “I believe Nigeria should come up with appropriate frame work and guidance for qualification equivalence because our political leaders signed Arusha and governments of other African countries failed to communicate with the operators of Institutions.”

“When I was the President of the Association of African Universities, I discovered that 90% of Institutions in Africa were not aware of the Institutions of conventions that their government endorsed, it shows that there is lack of synergy between Heads of Government which took the decisions and operators of the Institutions.”

Still on harmonisation and recognition of qualifications, Professor Oloyede says the challenge of unification of qualification has been on for decades in Africa.

“Because there is Arusha convention on qualification which our Heads of Government in Africa accepted and changed to Addis Ababa convention, what they didn’t realise is the political implications of the change, it then made the original Arusha Convention adopted more than 30 years ago by ministers of education in Arusha to be coming after Bolognia convention and what the West wanted is to make sure the picture is painted correctly that they are the one helping Africa.”

“And to make it look as if we are not the one helping the Western world. The Western world made sure we changed the name of our own to Addis Ababa convention which came after Bolognia convention but if we had retained the Arusha convention it would have remained on record that our own predated theirs.”

Responding to partnership between Africa and the European Union, Prof. Oloyede who doubles as the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board in Nigeria, says Africa must make her plans to advance her education system and seek assistance of genuine friends to help her fund her plans.

“Africa already have enough external imposition of direction to her educational courses, therefore Africa will not advance unless she decides to make her plans and seek assistance of her genuine friends to help her fund her own plans.”

“We have had enough of external imposition of direction to our education courses in Africa. We the Africans need to advance and unless Africa decides to make her plans and seek assistance of genuine friends to help her find her own plans not to be allowing some people to give us the direction we go, we all should remember that funders determine the direction,” Prof Oloyede added.

Speaking on Nigeria’s performance in the education sector among other countries in Africa, Professor Oloyede said Nigeria is doing well compares to other African countries.

He mentioned that Nigeria only need to do more in consolidating and coordinating her expenditure and utilization of resources on the education sector.

According to Prof. Oloyede: “Nigeria is doing well looking at what others are doing, the only thing is that we have not consolidated the different efforts, we talk about 6% of our education budget and I am talking about spending money from the same National budget, some other money is also being spent on education that are not consolidated, the challenge in Nigeria is that we don’t have consolidated expenditure on education.”

The education expert added that the Central Bank of Nigeria spends minimum of 10bn naira on education every year on tertiary education through grants and other agencies commit several amount to tertiary education through grants.

“We also have the National Communication Commission that does the same, PTDF as well, many agencies like that they are all money from the same National budget, all we need to do is to have consolidated expenditure on education.”

“We need to do better than we are doing, we are not doing as worst as we make ourselves to appear,” Prof Oloyede added.

Earlier the incumbent President of the Association of African Universities, Prof. Orlando Quilambo, called on governments, industry and policy making Institutions to work together to improve investments in higher education so as to help achieve the African Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global stage.

Prof Quilambo called on stakeholders to contribute effectively in their own way, to ensure that Higher Education in Africa, is rated among the best in the world.

He urged Institutions to involve students and other stakeholders through reforms in curricula, pedagogy and research, to engender more innovations that change the societies.

The AAU Secretary General, Professor Etienne Ehile said that the AAU is committed to working closely and collaboratively with all stakeholders in education to achieve the targets of Continental Education Strategy for Africa CESA, in the most efficient way and within the assigned time-frames to improve on the current state of the quality of Higher Education in Africa,” Prof. Ehile.

The Cairo conference was also attended by members of Nigeria’s’ Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigeria’s Universities.