Education Ministry Reports
Ten Nigerian Universities have been offered grants of about $8 million US Dollars each for research and related activities under the World Bank- supported Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) project.
The ten universities were out of the eighteen selected for the African Centres of Excellence from the West and Central African Sub-region, whose proposals were successful in the final selection process carried out at the ACE Project Steering Committee meeting held in Dakar, Senegal on October 28, 2013.
This was disclosed when a team comprising World Bank officials and representatives of the benefiting institutions led by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Julius Okojie (Professor) paid a courtesy visit on the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike recently in his office in Abuja.
In his speech, the Supervising Minister of Education, Ezenwo Wike described the development as a good thing which has happened in the Education Sector, saying the transformation in the sector is yielding results. He observed that for eighteen Centres of Excellence in Africa, Nigeria got ten and needless for people to say that Nigerian universities are not doing well.
Ezenwo Wike averred that for ten universities to get a minimum of US$8 million (about N12 billion) each for research purposes, is a good thing to know. He urged the benefiting institutions to demonstrate high commitment towards ensuring successful utilization of the grants, stressing that the grants were offered due to the quality of their proposals.
The Minister commended the World Bank for the support towards the development of the Education Sector and promised the commitment of Government to the success of the ACE project.
The leader of the World Bank team, Andres Bloom expressed the willingness of the organization to partner with the Nigerian Government and expressed satisfaction with the level of dedication by the officials of the project.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Julius Okojie (Professor) said that the commission has for the past five years focused on the building of capacities with a view to coming up with researches to solve problems. He said that the result can be seen in the number of institutions whose proposals scaled through the selection processes.
“The commission will continue to provide the leadership and required support for the success of the ACE project. The Africa Centres of Excellence project was initiated in 2013 by the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Togo with support from the World Bank to promote regional specialisation amongst participating universities and to fight regional development challenges as well as strengthen the capacities of universities, enablingthem deliver high quality training and applied research,” he indicated.
The NUC Secretary identified the universities whose proposals were successful to include: the Redeemers University, Mowe in Ogun State; the University of Ibadan, Ibadan’s Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, ACEGID); the African University of Science & Technology in Abuja (Pan-African Materials Institute, PAMI); Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (Centre for Agricultural Development & Sustainable Environment); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Centre of Excellence on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology); the University of Jos (Phytomedicine Research & Development, ACEPRD); University of Benin (Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health and Innovation) and the University of Port-Harcourt (Centre for Oil Field Chemicals).
Others universities were the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (Knowledge Park: A Model for National Science Technology and Knowledge Park Initiative); Bayero University, Kano (African Centre of Excellence in Dryland Agriculture); Benue State University, Makurdi (Centre for Food Technology and Research).
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