By Sylvester Thompson
Abuja, Aug. 19, 2020 Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, on Wednesday urged the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Universities in the country to implement the 60:40 ratio policy of science and engineering courses.
The minister gave the advice, when Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary-General, Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities came on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.
Onu said implementing the policy would stimulate innovation and economic growth for the nation.
He offered to assist Nigerian Universities by protecting their intellectual property through patents, adding that inventors and innovators could be discouraged if their intellectual outputs were not protected.
“Intellectual property must be protected because intellectual theft discourages innovation,” he said.
Onu pledged that the ministry in collaboration with universities would lead the way in ensuring that the Nigerian economy was transformed from resources-based to knowledge and innovation-driven.
According to him, universities are critical to the nation’s future, while canvassing for the need for Africa to embrace technology in order to cope with the challenge of increase in population.
“There is a need for Nigeria to embrace the new technology in view of its rising population, because in the next 30 years Nigeria may be the third most populous nation in the world,” the minister said.
Earlier, Ochefu said that the Committee would work closely with government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), to proffer solutions to local and international challenges.
He added that the Committee had come up with an innovation to help checkmate plagiarism and intellectual theft in the Universities.
The professor disclosed that the Committee of Vice-Chancellors was established in 1962 as a platform to share ideas and drive developmental processes.
“Since its establishment, the Committee has grown from strength to strength such that there are now 174 Federal, State and Private Universities in Nigeria today.
“The secretariat manages the day-to-day workings of the Vice-Chancellors in line with global best practices.
“The Committee shall seek ways of collaborating with the ministry on how to deepen research and development in the country,” Ochefu said.