The newly appointed Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) and the immediate past Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sunny Echono prescribes a new potent tool in the quest to revitalising the Nigerian University System geared delivering products that will more relevant and responsive to Nigeria’s present development aspiration and in the future.
The newly appointed TETFUND boss make this insightful prescription at a convocation lecture, titled “Accelerating the Triple Helix: New Vistas in University Administration And Curriculum Delivery in Nigeria”, at the 15th and 16th combined convocation ceremony of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka on Wednesday 16th March, 2022.
The immediate past permanent secretary of the federal ministry of Education posited that “The Triple Helix” framework emphasises the collaboration between academia, industry and Government, stressing that it has proven to be the effective tool for achieving needed improvement in University administration and quality delivery of curriculum which would inturn help the Nigerian University fulfills its mandate. While noting that Nigerian Universities are currently run through committee system with well established structure.
Arc Echono observed that the University management is expected to demonstrate academic leadership through mobilization so as to harness all human and material resources towards effective delivery of its mandate. According to him, “experience has shown that the current reliance, or guideline on academic qualifications with little premium accorded to organizational capacity, administrative acumen and experience including ability to superintend over a workforce with diverse backgrounds, interest, ability and lack of track records of attracting funding , endowments, research grants, effective collaboration and linkage with industry and development partners has created a huge deficit in our ivory towers”.
The erstwhile president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects further opined that for a University administrator to be successful in today’s operating environment, focus must be directed towards prudence and judicious utilisation of resources as well as been conversant with due process principles and procedures whilst exchewing corruption inorder to promote industrial harmony on the University campuses.
While suggesting a new arrangement for sabbatical leave in Nigerian Universities, Arc Echono insisted that the current arrangement whereby a University teacher leaves one University department to a similar department in another University offers little value creation beyond meeting shortfalls in staffing, he therefore averred that sabbatical leave should offer a veritable opportunity for industrial and policy experience which according to him was envisaged by the Triple Helix framework.
He further stressed that instead of the current arrangement for sabbatical leave, academic and other eligible staff should be encouraged to access relevant Government establishments and industrial firms while the Universities should be prepared to receive experts and staff from professional bodies, business, industrial firms and Government offices.