Seven Nigerian Universities on Wednesday signed an agreement with the University of Bradford to be incorporated into the World Technology Universities Network to enhance the development of technology in their schools.
WTUN is a consortium of universities committed towards the provision of professional and vocational courses with excellent job prospects for graduates in the country.
The universities include: University of Port Harcourt, University of Benin, Akwa Ibom State University, University of Africa, University of Uyo, University of Calabar and Niger Delta University.
The Vice Chancellor of University of Bradford, Prof. Brian Cantor, at the signing ceremony said WTUN was established to use technology as a quick solution to the world challenges.
Cantor said that the network was to promote better understanding of the role and the characteristics of the technology university and facilitate links between world technology universities and industry.
According to him, it is aimed to collaborate on research and knowledge transfer to address global challenges and develop position and policy statements among others.
Cantor described the incorporation as means of uplifting Nigerian universities technologically through the WTUN.
He said the network was a catalyst to solving the world problem which included ill-health, poverty, climate change, energy and water supply, food security, industrial development, conflict, migration and terrorism.
He said: “The 21st century’s problems are difficult, frightening and threatening to us all.
“But as well as threats, there are opportunities. Opportunities that technological research and the application of technology can exploit to help deliver solutions.
“Technology is, broadly, the use of knowledge to improve society, and it is clear that technology universities must play leading roles in meeting our 21st century challenges.”
According to him, universities, and technology universities in particular, can be amongst the greatest forces for progress.
Cantor said: “Working together and alongside our business and industry partners, we can perhaps create the greatest community for good in the world.”
Prof. Uduak Archibong, a Professor of Diversity and Strategy at the University of Bradford, said: “Bradford is proud of its long-standing engagement with Africa, exemplified in our student body, partnerships and collaborations”.
Archibong added: “Our formal relations with Africa started with the establishment of the School of Peace Studies in 1973/74 and led to mediation and peace-building efforts across Africa.”
Prof. Udo Ibok Director of Academic Planning, who represented Akwa Ibom State University at the ceremony, said that there was a lot to be gained by the university through the network.
Ibok said: “This will have a lot of positive impact on our universities through exchange programmes, which includes staff students, technology and many other things they have over there.
“We can go there see how they are doing things and bring them back home.
“If the global issue we are thinking of worked out, ours is a young university and we will want to grow, one of the ways to it is to use internet or other growing universities.
“And, this is one of the reasons why we collaborate with the Bradford University to grow our university.”
Prof. Valentine Aleto, the Vice Chancellor, University of Africa, Toru Orua, Bayelsa, described the network as an opportunity for his university to grow.
Orua said: “The network technology is the kind of network that will bring together a lot of universities to use technology in solving national and global problems.”
Prof. Ibibia Worika, who represented University of Port Harcourt, expressed delight at the agreement stressed that joining the network would add value to the universities
Worika said: “Just like today’s world, technology plays a very crucial role in the development of the economy of a nation.
“In one word it will add value to the university if Uniport name is among the network; it will help the institution and bring the likely opportunity for both staff and students.
“It will add value to teaching, research, students and lecturers it will make the university to be much more relevant.”
The Director-General of Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Prof. Oshita O. Oshita, who hosted the University of Bradford delegation to Nigeria, described the incorporation as a good omen for the universities.