NUC secures $70m World Bank support for ACE Impact

Professor Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of NUC

THE National Universities Commission (NUC) has secured approval of $70 million from the World Bank for the African Centres of Excellence (ACE) Impact in Nigeria.

Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, who made this known in Abuja said the commission is also negotiating for additional $70 million from the French Development Agency (FDA).

Rasheed who was represented by the Director of Research and Information Communication Technology (ICT), Dr Ramon Yusuf, spoke at the ACE Impact pre-evaluation workshop.

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He said: “The ACE allocation was to select 10 new centres and allocate $40 to $50 million to them. This should happen before the end of this year or by February 2019 subject to all approval process.

“We shall set up two centres focusing on education (teacher training, pedagogy and short courses). This would be supported up to $4 million,” he said.

Rasheed further explained that the additional financing from the FDA would enable the establishment of a few more ACEs and commence the implementation of an aspect of the National Higher Education Reform.

He added that plans were on ground to set up a National Evaluation Committee to help in the selection of the best proposals from the current 146 to just 45 before forwarding them to the Association of African Universities and World Bank respectively.

The NUC boss disclosed that the existing 10 ACE centres were fast becoming the hub for professional excellence attracting international students from other parts of Africa, adding that the landmark achievements of the centres had persuaded the World Bank in planning to provide additional funds to enable the establishment of more centres.

He emphasized the need for all the vice chancellors of all participating universities to show commitment in the process from the proposal to management of the project, saying this would help in sustenance of the project beyond the ACE initiative.