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We, the participants, in the Nigeria Higher Education Summit on Exploiting Diversity, Differentiation, and Quality Assurance in Revitalising the Nigerian Higher Education System, gathered in Abuja, Nigeria on November 21-23, 2016, affirm our commitment to the objective of creating a national multi-stakeholders’ platform to develop strategies for advancing the objectives of the African Union (AU) – adopted Declaration on African Higher Education through renewed commitment to promoting categorisation, legislation, service delivery and quality assurance, leveraging on ICT as driver of rapid and wider revitalisation and sustainable funding of higher education in Nigeria. In this connection, we enact the Nigerian Higher Education Charter hereunder set forth, and also Declare and Adopt the accompanying Action Plans for its actualization.
Organisers of the Summit
The summit was organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Association of Vice- Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC/AVCNU) and TrustAfrica, Dakar, Senegal with logistic support from the National Universities Commission (NUC) under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Education.
Objectives of the Summit
The overall aim of the Summit was to build an effective platform and network for the revitalisation of the Nigerian higher education system and identifying appropriate reform issues and strategies related to its diversity, differentiation and quality assurance for greater relevance to the country’s emancipation and sustainable development.
The specific objectives were;
1. To develop, through expert knowledge and consensus, a comprehensive globally credible and locally relevant/reflective framework for diversifying, differentiating and categorizing higher education institutions in Nigeria;
2. To develop appropriate legislation for sustainable differentiation and diversification mechanisms, and for transiting from one type of institution to another, to limit academic drift and mission creep in the system.
3. To propose policy recommendations and implementation strategies for harmonisation, leveraging and prioritisation of ICT and e-resources.
4. To provide policy and engagement frameworks to assist the ten new African Centres of Excellence (ACEs), and similar centres of excellence (CoEs) in Nigeria achieve the purpose of their establishment.
The Nigerian Higher Education Sector has grown rapidly since independence (from 3 to 152 Universities; 1 to over 200 Polytechnics and Monotechnics and 3 to over hundred and fifty Colleges of Education/ NCE awarding institutions) facilitated by rising population and growing demand, expansion of the Nigerian economy and need for skilled labour.
Despite this growth, the HEIs sector faces serious challenges such as poor quality, inadequate infrastructure, out-dated pedagogies, low levels of funding, quality and quantum of scholarly productivity, and global competitiveness. That while the Nigerian higher education sector is characterised by growing diversification and differentiation, the various components do not operate as an integrated system.
Nigeria’s nearly 500 HEIs exhibit divergent missions, visions and values, patterns of access, enrolment and equity, systems of management, governance and accountability, financing and budgeting models, quality of teaching and learning pedagogies and infrastructure, levels of training for academic staff and research productivity, and forms of national, regional and international collaborations and partnerships.