Vice-Chancellors of the nation’s universities, under the aegis of Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), on Monday began their annual conference in Jos.
The conference, according to Prof. Hayward Mafuyai, the host and the Vice Chancellor (V-C) of the University Jos, will afford the heads of the ivory towers, a forum to discuss challenges facing universities and suggest ways to address them.
“The conference usually provides the forum where Vice-Chancellors assess the university system and suggest ways to improving it,” Mafuyai remarked at a news conference on Monday in Jos, to mark the commencement of the conference.
“The conference is an avenue for discussing common problems relating to inter-university cooperation, maintenance of academic standards, staff recruitment, students affairs and international cooperation.
“It is a forum through which the opinion of universities can be expressed on matters concerning education in the country.
“It also provides members the opportunity for formulating action plans on any national issue to be communicated to government,” Mafuyai said.
The Vice Chancellor stated that the 31st Annual Conference would have all the Vice-Chancellors from federal, states and private universities in attendance, noting that each of the three had its own body.
Hayward said that the Vice-Chancellors were conscious of their responsibilities to university education hence the need to prepare the universities to play that role.
“The university plays a pivotal role in human and material development of the nation; that goal can only be best realised by pursuing a joint action toward achieving quality education and high academic standards,” he said.
Mafuyai said that the theme of the conference “Quality Assurance and Global Competitiveness: A Challenge for Nigerian Universities”, was targeted at tackling hurdles on the path to such excellence.
The Vice-Chancellor observed that the challenges of universities were compounded by the failing crude oil prices and sluggishness in the diversification of the economy, which he described as “the inevitable way forward”.
He said that plenary sessions on various sub-themes had been lined up to give added impetus and character to discussions, while high profile scholars had been invited to deliver papers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference would end on June 2.