Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’ Allah the Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja (UniAbuja), yesterday called on the federal government to establish a mechanism for assessing Nigerian university professors to determine their contributions to industry and national development .
Speaking at the University of Abuja and Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Day, to commemorate the existing partnership between both parties, the VC said the present system in which full professors are not being assessed in the university was unacceptable.
His submission only re-echoes concerns already expressed in some quarters that the ivory towers had been failing in their responsibilities to proffer solutions to numerous problems in the society as witnessed in other climes.
But Na’ Allah raised concerns that becoming a university professor was “like chieftaincy title”, pointing out that afterwards, “people may not do anything anymore”.
Yet, he said professors have attained certain level of maturity that the nation should benefit greatly from them.
He lamented that “currently as it is, we do not assess professors”.
Specifically, the VC said the professors should be assessed within three years to evaluate their contributions to the real sector of the economy particularly industries with a view to stimulating innovation and solving associated challenges.
He said: “What I am talking about is assessment of professors in our universities. What I am saying is that government itself – obviously the NUC represents government – should put itself a strategy for all our full professors, within three years to be assessed.
“And one of the areas or factors to look at is their relationship with industries. And I am saying that academic staff, obviously everybody from assistant lecturer to full professors should have an industry-day, a day that they would go out of the university to meet with industry.
“How can we help your products? How can you bring in new products? How can we collaborate in certain areas of our research? And if full professors are assessed based on their scholarly work and their research work but also the grants that they bring in as well as their collaboration with industry, I am telling you this nation will move with a kind of rapid progression that everybody would be surprised because professors are the highest level of development.”
He maintained that the federal government had invested in them in all the processes leading to them becoming full professor from lecturer to the highest academic career, adding that they’ve also attained certain level of maturity which the nation should benefit greatly from.
“But the present system in which full professors are not assessed in our university is not acceptable, “he said.
However, he said the partnership between the chamber and the university was being expanded to ensure “every proposal and research can end up as a product and this is a major thing”.
Meanwhile, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr. Al-Mujitaba Abubakar, explained that the partnership remained one of the most successful collaborations the chamber had secured.
He said the ACCI had supported the university in engaging the students as well as sent industry experts to deliver lectures at the university adding that it is further working with them on infrastructural development that would benefit both students and businesses.
Represented by the ACCI Director General, Ms Victoria Akai, Abubakar said, “We agreed to partner in the development of certain sectors but now we are going beyond that by bringing in the industry to make investments into the partnership because there are projects to be developed.
“We are also looking at building a film village and we are bringing in industry experts to make investments into that. We are taking our partnership to the next level and the agreement now has to be more concrete and legal.”
According to him, “The journey into this partnership started with the Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Abuja on June 18, 2021 at the Vice Chancellor’s Conference Room. The MoU prepared both parties to prepare a skilled work force, business and educational institutions to preserve our nation’s competitiveness and economic strength in response to a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive world.
“Both ACCI and University of Abuja in the MoU agreed to partner in the areas of; research, training, capacity building and continuing education, workshops and conferences, executive and regular MBAs, skills development, technology and knowledge transfer, wade fairs and expos, preparation of curriculum and modules for Specialized trainings, policy advocacy, amongst others.”
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