The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities said on Saturday that Nigerians spend an average of $500m (N78.5bn) annually on European and American universities.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day Consultative Policy Dialogue on the Future and Relevance of the Nigerian Universities and other Tertiary Institutions, organised by CVC and Trust Africa, Dakar.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the communique, signed by Prof. Michael Faborode, noted that the amount was about 70 per cent of the total allocation in 2008 to all federal universities.
It said this was an indication of the loss of faith in Nigerian universities as shown by the rush for foreign institutions, including other African countries. It stated that constant restiveness of students against host communities, school administration, weak governance structure and processes, were some of the challenges facing the Nigerian higher education sector.
According to the communiqué, these have contributed to disruptions of the academic calendar, including the constant bickering between the academic staff union and other staff unions, university management and government. The VCs said these had affected the culture of robust debate and collaborative engagement between government, university management and staff for a common vision and progress.
It noted that the global ranking of Nigerian universities had nosedived considerably, adding that there had been growing concern over the quality of graduates from Nigerian universities. The committee resolved to restore a culture of consultation, strategic productive engagement, and partnership, collaboration between management and staff of Nigerian higher education institutions.
It stressed that the appointment of vice chancellors must include respect for academic excellence, managerial, leadership capabilities, transparency and accountability. It added that others were the non-negative application of the principle of federal character to stem the tide of emerging sectional agitations and clamour for indigenes and other parochial interests.
The communiqué called for the setting up of an education, research innovation and development council to coordinate the synergy between knowledge, innovation and development in all the sectors of the economy. It also recommended that regular consultative policy dialogue on Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions be held biannually.