The Humboldt Alumni Higher Education Management and Research Linkage Network Forum has called for the improvement of the education system in Nigeria.
The call is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Lagos, signed by Prof. Oluyemi Akinloye of the University of Lagos, the convener of the forum.
It had as its theme: “Revitalising Higher Education Management and Research Linkage in Nigeria.’’
The forum stressed that improving the education system would boost international rankings and research outcomes.
“ It is high time we came together and synchronise our forces to overcome the obstacles that resist the revealing of our undoubted great potential.
“The nation must work to improve the international ratings of its universities, giving due consideration to internal and external evaluation mechanisms, with due respect for autonomy and academic freedom; a new era has begun.
“This is where global ranking, performance-based-payment, employability of university products, physical and social impacts of research and services from the universities and other factors will now determine the survival and continued existence of many institutions.
“This may eventually affect admission prospects and choice of institutions by prospective students.
“ Nigerian universities must also adopt radical change and renewal procedures to immediately proffer solutions to the crises of values, manpower deficit and other challenges facing the nation.’’
The communique also emphasised that academic and research integrity must become a top priority in order to confront the fraud of academic dishonesty, data manipulation and research results doctoring.
“There must be a qualitative evaluation of higher education in line with international best practices proposed in UNESCO Convention on Higher Education (HE), Article 11.
“This is to ensure that higher institutions abide by the rules of ethics, encourage scientific and intellectual rigours, as well as multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches to research.
“Access to education must be provided for all persons who have the necessary abilities and motivation.
“Higher institutions must contribute to the sustainable development of society and provide proactive solutions to the emerging social, cultural, economic and political issues.
“ Universities must focus on their defining factors which include quality of research output and its measurable impact; quality and calibre of academic and non-academic staff, global ranking and problem-solving orientation.’’
The communiqué also advised universities management to avoid any form of inducement during the accreditation process, discourage “ predatory’’ publications as well as conduct proper background checks on every fresh employee.
“This will discourage engaging lecturers that may t have been sacked as a result of unethical conduct in their former universities.
“Academics themselves are encouraged to subscribe to the academic culture, avoid the distractions of unionism and focus on conducting quality research which will enhance productivity.’’
It also drew attention to the need for well-equipped laboratories, linkages with top-flight institutions around the world, promotion of institutional research culture and effective leadership and mentoring from experienced academics.
The communiqué called on Humboldtians to leverage on their exposure, experience and network advantage to promote cutting edge scholarship and research projects that would contribute to national development.
The forum gathered scholars and academics from Nigerian universities, mostly alumni of the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Others included principal officers of the University of Lagos and the Consul-General of the German Embassy in Lagos.
The primary objective was to examine ways in which Nigerian universities could significantly impact on the society for development and the role that Humboldt alumni could play in realising this goal.