*each varsity gets N12.8bn for specific research
*FG attributes the overwhelming success to improvement of universities by the Jonathan administration
Ten Nigerian universities have won grants of about $8 million US Dollars each for research and related activities under the World Bank- supported Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) project. The ten Universities were among the fifteen Universities from West and Central African Sub-region, whose proposals were successful in the final selection process carried out at the ACE Project Steering Committee meeting held in Dakar, Senegal on 28th October, 2013.
This was disclosed when a Team of World Bank and Representatives of the benefitting institutions, led by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, paid a courtesy visit on the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief (Barr.) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, on Monday, 10 February 2014, in his office in Abuja.
Speaking, the Supervising Minister, Chief (Barr.) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, described the development as a good thing to happen in the Education Sector, saying that the transformation in the sector is yielding fruit. He noted that for eighteen Centres of Excellence in Africa, Nigeria got ten, saying, “Why then are they saying Nigerian Universities are not doing well?”
He said that for ten Universities to get a minimum of US$8 million (about N12 billion) for research purposes, is a good thing of note. He urged the benefitting institutions to demonstrate high commitment towards ensuring successful utilization of the grants, stressing that grants were due to the quality of their proposals.
The Minister commended World Bank for the support to the development of the Education Sector, and assured of Government commitment to the success of the project.
The World Bank Team Leader, Mr. Andres Bloom, expressed the willingness of the body to partner with the Government of Nigeria. He also expressed satisfaction with level of commitment of officials to the project.
Earlier, NUC Executive Secretary had said that the Commission has, for the past five years, focused on building of capacities with a view to come up with researches to solve problems. He said that the result can be seen in the numbers of the institutions that got the grants.
He said the Commission will continue to provide the leadership and give the necessary support for the success of the ACE project.
The Africa Centres of Excellence project was initiated in 2013 by the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal and Togo, with support from the world Bank, to promote regional specialisation amongst participating universities within areas that address particular regional developmental challenges, as well as strengthen the capacities of the participating universities to deliver high quality training and applied research.