Professor Tahir Mamman, Nigeria’s Minister of Education, has taken office amidst high expectations for his tenure, particularly in the country’s higher education sector. Nigeria’s higher education system has faced numerous challenges, and there is a pressing need for reforms to boost the sector’s contribution to the nation’s economic development.
The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has outlined three critical challenges for the new minister. First, there is a need for a comprehensive review of the laws establishing universities, particularly in terms of governance structures, ownership, intellectual property rights, and program accreditation. Second, a multi-stakeholder engagement session is required to rethink the philosophy of university education in 21st-century Nigeria, addressing issues like funding, access, curriculum, rewards, disciplinary systems, and campus experiences. Third, the minister should promote the quadruple helix framework, aligning higher education with societal needs and producing graduates with innovation and entrepreneurial competencies.
President Bola Tinubu’s government had pledged to reform Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, promising to rationalize governance structures, provide student loans, reduce tuition costs, and boost funding for higher education. Minister Mamman has reiterated the government’s commitment to these plans, emphasizing full autonomy for universities, allowing them to seek funding independently.
Educators and stakeholders are eager to see progress in various areas, including infrastructure improvement, lecturer compensation, and a shift toward practice-oriented learning. University autonomy and curriculum development are also priorities. The higher education sector plays a crucial role in Nigeria’s development, and the new minister faces substantial expectations as he takes on the challenges ahead.
As Nigeria looks to enhance the quality and impact of its higher education system, stakeholders hope that the government’s promises will translate into concrete actions and reforms. The focus on autonomy, innovation, and practical skills could reshape the country’s higher education landscape and address longstanding challenges. However, the effectiveness of these plans will depend on the successful implementation of policies and the allocation of resources to support higher education transformation.