Except government provides adequate infrastructural framework, the nation may not get the best out of the educational system as even the private institutions may not operate optimally.
This was the view of Margee Ensign, president of American University of Nigeria, who briefed journalists yesterday in Abuja before the commencement of the institutions board of trustee meeting.
She said the key challenge facing the educational institutions in Nigeria is lack of adequate infrastructure. This contributes to not just the high cost of education in the country, but also to the falling standard of education.
“Nigerian government should provide the framework for operation of private schools in the country. Technology is a challenge here and it affects the system, as what obtains around the world is the use of latest technological concepts in disseminating knowledge among students.
“This bears on the academic prospects in Nigeria,” she said.
She also said that the Nigerian system of education often focuses more on the constraints rather than proffering solutions to existing challenges.
The American University of Nigeria, according to her, is bracing for the challenges, as the institution is not only fully served but ready to release bandwidth to the community in which it is located.
“These measures to boost the technological capacity of the school would soon see the linking of optic fibre cables to the Yola campus of the institution,” she disclosed.
Ms. Ensign added that the school will embark on research and development activities that will bring solution to the myriad of problems in the Nigerian eceonomy, as part of the institution’s corporate social responsibility.
The institution’s president also disclosed that some new programmes have been introduced in the school and that emphasis is being placed on entrepreneurship development. “We started entrepreneurship studies since 2006 because we want to raise graduates that create jobs,” she added.
She emphasised the need for entrepreneurship education in the Nigerian university system, noting that part of the success stories of foreign based universities is their ability to incorporate entrepreneurship skills into their learning system.
The American University of Nigeria is said to be a non-profit making organisation, even as the fees it charges run into millions. The school said it is so because the board of directors is not making profit or enriching itself, as it hopes to break even in the next five years.
The school is said not to have any links with the American government in terms of ownership; it is a privately owned university that has adopted the American style of education.
Meanwhile, four personalities, William Bertrand, Eamon Kelly, Laurence Day, and Earl Kellogg have joined the board of trustees of the university, in a fresh move to shore up the institution’s capacity internationally.
Beyond the fresh entrants, the board already parades an array of prominent personalities like Mike Adenuga, Pat Utomi, Peter Okocha, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bamanga Tukur, among others.