9 July 2014

Nigeria: President Jonathan Pledges to Revive Education Sector

President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to restore Nigeria's educational sector and raise it above its former glory despite the decline experienced in the sector for several years.

This was as he inaugurated the $10 million Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) for inter-connectivity between local educational and research institutions to same networks worldwide.

Speaking at the inauguration in Abuja yesterday, Jonathan, who was represented by the supervising Minister for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, said the continued injection of funds into the education system through various interventions are part of effort to restore life to the sector.

He added that his administration remained focused on Nigeria becoming one of the world's biggest economies by 2020 and has realised that a quality education system backed by technology remained a key to that goal.

Jonathan lamented the various challenges that had caused upheavals in the tertiary education sub-sector and promised that the government had set machinery in motion to implement various recommendations for development of education in Nigeria.

"I hereby approve and therefore direct the TETFund, the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency and the Universal Service Provision Fund to provide the necessary funds for this purpose. The level of funding should be worked out between the NUC and these agencies to ensure the NgREN is fully supported to expand its connectivity and services to all higher education and research institutions in the country," he said.

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, said the project is expected to drive down the exorbitant costs of bandwidth while increasing the capacity of the networked members to deliver world class teaching and research services.

Okojie described the project which was executed in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications Technology, as capital intensive.

He noted that smaller countries less endowed than Nigeria like Rwanda, Congo, Mozambique, Sudan and Somalia already had theirs up and running, and assisting their educational development.

NgREN has 27 federal universities as well as the NUC and Secretariat of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities as its foundation members.

Plans are already ongoing to extend the network to the remaining 102 universities, polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other educational institutions.

With NgREN, students across the universities can receive or join any lecture via video and tele conferencing in any part of the work, in real time.

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