The Kwara State University, Malete is set to host the 32nd Annual Conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities between October 8 and 12, 2017.
About 147 heads of Federal, State and Private Universities across the country are expected to participate with at least three of their principal officers each.
They will brainstorm on the challenges and prospects of running a 21st century university in the country.
The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki; the Kwara State Governor, AbdulFatah Ahmed; renowned lawyer and founder of Afe Babalola University, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN); and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, are expected to take part in the conference.
Also expected at the gathering are representatives of French and British embassies in Nigeria, as well as university delegates from the United States of America, England and Eastern Europe among others.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor-designate (Administration) of KWASU and Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the conference, Prof. Sakah Mahmud, stated these during a press briefing held in the Institution.
Mahmud, who is also the Provost, College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, revealed that the University was fully prepared to host the conference, which he said would provide an opportunity for KWASU to show other universities its unique programmes, especially as the only recognised University in Nigeria with a degree programme in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
Speaking on the central theme of the conference: “The 21st Century University Education in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges,” he said: “The 21st Century is a century of globalisation. Other people also refer to it as knowledge century. You have to be knowledgeable in so many areas to succeed in this era of globalisation. So, this is very, very important theme for the conference, and of course, when we talk about knowledge, we cannot go beyond the university. Universities are the cradles and managers of knowledge.”
Mahmud explained that the theme was carefully chosen in view of the current challenges confronting the nation’s university education and the need for all stakeholders to rise to the occasion, saying: “Universities cannot be closed up. Universities are all open to other parts of the world.
“We face the challenges of university rankings, global rankings and most of the times, we find ourselves producing only one university or two in Nigeria, globally ranked. Sometimes we have some South African and East African universities. So, these are challenges to how far we have come, in terms of international rankings.”
The LOC Chairman expressed the confidence that the event would bring about enormous benefits for the University and Kwara State in general.
Mahmud said the LOC is working with the School of Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management of the University to showcase the local tourism opportunities in the state during the conference.
Mahmud added that arrangements had been concluded with the Ilorin traditional cloth weavers, the Esie Museum and others across the state to mount an exhibition at the event, saying such platform would prompt participants to develop more interest in the cultural artifacts and products from the state.
“Tourism is a key area and we want to even develop our interest in local tourism, such that you may not travel out of the country but stay somewhere in Nigeria and still have a beautiful experience. You will spend money in that area and by so doing, boost the local economy. So, we are set to do that during the meeting,” the LOC Chairman stated.