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Nigerian university students in laboratory

Ten Nigerian universities are to benefit from a grant of 80 million dollars donated by the World Bank for the funding of centres of excellence. According to the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, Nigeria won 10 slots out of the 18 approved proposals for the establishment of African Centres of Excellence (ACE). The universities include Redeemers University, Mowe (Ogun State); African University of Science and Technology, Abuja; Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (Ogun State), and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, (Kaduna State). Others are the University of Jos (Plateau State), University of Benin (Edo State); University of Port Harcourt (Rivers State); Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (Osun State); Bayero University, Kano (Kano State) and Benue State University, Makurdi (Benue State), which leaves Nigeria with 10 universities out of the 18 allocated ACEs in Africa. He said the World Bank-funded ACE project was introduced to build capacity in competitively selected institutions to produce in-demand highly skilled labour and applied research. “Following the call for proposals on July 15, 2013, the NUC put in place a process to ensure that Nigerian universities win most of the ACEs. He said the universities were selected based on their proposals to address specific issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, health sciences, and agricultural sciences. “This process included workshops, mock evaluations, proposal development support, etc,” he said. The executive secretary also said that seven Nigerian universities were selected from 15 institutions that would benefit from the ACE grant. “In spite of the challenges facing the Nigerian education sector, our universities are doing well,” he noted. “This competition has indicated the potential of our universities to confront the challenges in their immediate environment and thereby contribute to the overall growth of the nation and the continent. “The fact that we won 10 ACEs out of 18 ACEs indicates that with little more effort, our universities can be ranked among the best in the world,” he said.  

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This article was first published on 11th February 2014

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