Registered in Nigeria as a not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee (RC 632001) on 19 August 2005, the Nigeria ICT Forum of Partnership Institutions is an initiative of the Nigerian Caucus (a joint meeting of the Vice-Chancellors and ICT Coordinators of the six Partnership Nigerian Universities) held in Dar-es-Salaam on 9 September 2004, with the stimulation and support of the MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation.
It was conceived out of the realization that Nigerian Research and Education Institutions hardly have an independent voice in National policy making; that almost half of the African Universities being supported by the Partnership Foundations are in Nigeria; and therefore, that success here will have a positive impact on Partnership interventions and this should have a wider positive impact on the wider Higher Education and Research system.
Already at Dar-es-Salaam to resolve the common problem of high cost of satellite bandwidth alongside other Partnership African Universities, the Nigerian Caucus realized that the six Partnership universities were the best placed to initiate the formation of a collaborative Forum that would provide an opportunity and serve as platform for member institutions to foster the development of National Research and Education Network (NREN) in Nigeria, beginning with member institutions and their neighbourhoods.
While Nigerian Research and Education Institutions have several bodies and associations with the potential to serve as a lobby group for policy review (such as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC); Council of Heads of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in Nigeria (COHEADS); Committee of Provosts of Colleges of Education (COP); Committee of Bursars, etc.; as well as staff and students Associations and Unions), they require to be provided with relevant, strategic, timely and actionable information in order to effectively make inputs in policies in technical areas like ICTs.
Similarly, none of the institutions by itself would be able to devote sufficient time and resources to perform such functions on their behalf. Therefore, what was required to fill this niche is a collaborative organization that is administratively streamlined and wholly “owned” by member institutions, while being independent of any of them and of Government. Such an organization and program of activities would seek out allies among the various bodies and associations to work and collaborate with, as well as provide space and capacity for universities to monitor and make inputs in National policies that affect them, accelerate ICT capacity building and utilization, and strengthen teaching, learning, research, collaboration, communications as well as management and administration in Nigerian educational institutions.
October 14, 2019