During the UK government delegation visit, led by UK education champion Steve Smith, the British Council announced a £600,000 grant aiming to support systematic change in 20 institutions and organisations in Nigeria.
The British Council’s Innovation for African Universities will deliver the grant program. It has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Universities Commission in a bid to facilitate collaboration and partnerships for the “efficient disbursement” of the grant.
British Council’s IAU aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship culture in African universities and facilitate the development of skills required to build industries, companies, products and services.
“The UK government is excited about the TNE project that has been developed by the NUC,” Smith said.
“We believe that it is a chance to partner with Nigerian institutions using digital platforms primarily and making sure it spreads equally across the country.”
“We are here because we want partnership and collaboration”
TNE offers “opportunities for mutual development”, Smith added. “We want to make sure that what we offer delivers quality across the sector to ensure students get the same level of education as they would have received if they went to the UK.
“In this scenario, both countries gain, no one losses. We are here because we want partnership and collaboration.” The delegation will also visit international schools operating the UK curriculum.
Additionally, more than 20 principals and senior leaders of UK boarding schools also travelled to Nigeria this week, hosting parents, students, government ministers and business leaders at UK Boarding School Exhibitions in Abuja and Lagos.
“I’m keen for all of us to seize this opportunity to dig deep, and understand how we can establish partnerships in Nigeria that will allow for a more diverse and equitable outreach,” Smith stated.
“British boarding schools really benefit from welcoming Nigerian girls and boys into their communities,” Mark Brooks, who organised the boarding school exhibitions, said.
Along with representatives from the universities of Dundee and Sussex, UUKi, the British Council, government departments, the UK prime minister’s special envoy on Girls’ Education, and trade envoy to Nigeria, Helen Grant MP, joined the delegation.
Nigeria is one of five “priority countries” that Smith focuses on, and TNE is integral to the updated UK 2021 international education strategy. The UK intends to maximise TNE’s “long-term potential to establish a leading, sustainable market position for the UK”, the strategy released last year noted.