Efforts to improve quality in Nigerian universities have compelled the National Universities Commission (NUC) to initiate partnership with industry players, enabling most academic staff to go on sabbatical leaves in such places.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, Abubakar Rasheed, said the measures became necessary to broaden the scope of academics, especially to expose them to practical knowledge, rather than relying on theories.
He made the disclosure on Tuesday, in Abuja at the 11th International Conference and Workshops on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa which also had as its theme: “Towards Sustainability of the Continental Harmonisation Aregenda of Higher Education in Africa.”
He said poor outputs from Nigerian universities compelled the commission to look inward, where it discovered that there was a need to strengthen the quality assurance system.
The NUC boss said hinging on that, the NUC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) to enable academics have direct interface with industrialists and policy makers to broaden their horizon.
He said: “We have introduced a scheme where we send our senior lecturers, especially those in the professorial cadre to go on sabbatical leave in our local industries like oil rig and other manufacturing sectors.
“We came to this idea that it’s far more beneficial to them and our students rather than going on sabbatical from one university to another to teach. When these lecturers for instance spend some time in the rig we believe when they return to the classroom their approach to teaching will be far more enhanced.”
According to Rasheed, issues of quality assurance should come as a natural phenomenon in Nigerian universities, noting that universities around the world gain international recognition by virtue of enforcing quality standards.
He admonished Nigerian universities to take a cue from global best practices, warning that the NUC would henceforth sanction any university found wanting in breaching quality assurance mechanisms in the system.