The Management of the National Universities Commission (NUC) last week (Feb. 11th-15th) held its week long annual retreat at the Oxygen Holiday Resort, Owerri to review its activities over the past year and outline activities to carry out in the current year and map out strategies to effectively achieve its mandate.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL informed management members that the Retreat was scheduled to reflect deeply on NUC’s mandates and functions.
He mentioned that the retreat was a stocktaking exercise to address a number of salient issues bothering the commission and the Nigerian University System (NUS). “The Retreat will afford every member the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of NUC’s mandate, functions and strategies towards achieving the commission’s objectives”.
According to him the retreat was convened to create an avenue for better appreciation of what we do and what we should be doing, adding that the country and indeed the world recorded unprecedented changes in recent times and NUC could not remain in its comfort zone.
He emphasized that “the commission can not survive if we continue to rely on what we have been doing ten or more years ago”.
He told the management that the desired change must be embraced if NUC wished to remain relevant in the 21st century, stressing that the Commission must keep up with the changing needs of the society in order to regulate and supervise the NUS to compete favourably in the global arena and to salvage the nation by confronting myriad of challenges facing the country.
The Executive Secretary stated that “NUC is not a settled commission where things must be done without reappraisal and review”. “It is no more the traditional regulatory agency that cannot be challenged by stakeholders,” saying NUC’s activities should not be restricted to Nigeria alone.
He said that the changing roles of the commission informed his decision to inaugurate a powerful committee called: NUC Strategic Advisory Committee to advise the commission on such issues capable of repositioning the commission to deliver its mandate efficiently.
Professor Rasheed appreciated the progress made so far by the committee and urged it to maintain the tempo disclosing that at the end of “such worthwhile exercise” another retreat of NUC Management would be held in Abuja to validate the report.
He also disclosed that as part of a Strategy to have a holistic approach to deliver higher education especially university education, another one day retreat with vice chancellors to look at the report would be held.
The Executive Secretary emphasized the need to understand the enormous functions of the commission and chart a better as well as viable direction for the Commission and NUS “regardless of other people’s opinions and preferences.”
He then called for greater unity, understanding and harmony among staff with a view to foster cordial working relationships and appealed to members to take all the presentations seriously and do away with all distractions that might hamper appreciation of the retreat.
He urged everyone to make qualitative contribution and encouraged members to speak up as a means of taking the commission and the system to greater heights.
In his comments, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2018 NUC Strategic Retreat Committee, Owerri, and Deputy Executive Secretary 1, Professor Chiedu Felix Mafiana thanked the Executive Secretary, NUC for the opportunity given to him to organise the NUC Strategic Retreat.
He told members that since the inception of the current leadership two other retreats were held and this was the third retreat. He said that the second retreat held at Rockview Hotel was to reposition the commission while the current retreat was targeted to strategically streamline its mandate and functions toward facing the challenges of the nation and catching up with global trend in higher education.
The LOC Chairman outlined the programme of events thus:
i. Presentation of mandates and functions of each directorate by its director, to be followed by discussion, appraisals, questions and contributions.
ii. The discussion and contributions would address:
a. The envisaged overlapping of functions;
b. Issues arising from the recent manning exercise
c. Grievances arising from the presentations
iii. At the end, the retreat would come up with ways and means the commission could act rightly;
iv. Proffer solutions capable of building a University System that could guaranty growth and development.
v. Finally, a strategic plan for the commission to be presented, discussed, reviewed and agreed upon.
vi. In conclusion, the retreat would take far reaching decisions for implementation and the decisions reached to be appropriately assigned and monitored.