The Committee of Vice- Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC) has expressed its desire to have a working relationship with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), in the area of plagiarism detection, among others.
Secretary-General of the committee, Prof. Yakubu Aboki Ochefu stated this when he led a 5-man delegation for a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the university in jabi, Abuja.
“We will like to work with NOUN to help us drive the Eaglescan plagiarism software because of the way NOUN is structured.
"NOUN is one of the biggest drivers of that platform which has two sides: plagiarism detection and others while the second side is how CVC can improve on its footprint as educational solution providers in Nigeria.
“We encourage you to get your staff to use it, for now, it is available for free for the next 3 months, because it is undergoing validation. We want people to use it and give us feedback on what we need to do and what we need to improve on, before we can get the full version on.”
According to Ochefu, “Our visit is in two-folds: first to congratulate the Vice-Chancellor and wish him well on his new position as the new VC NOUN and secondly, to have a more robust relationship with NOUN.
“We believe that your structure is the future of higher education in Nigeria, and even though, NOUN has gone out of its way to support the development of distant learning programme in Nigerian universities," he added.
The Secretary-General also lamented that the number of students accessing the conventional university is still very poor but expressed belief that more can be done with NOUN structure and development of Open Educational Resource (OER) and Open Educational System, which, he said, can add value.
Ochefu, who assumed duty as Secretary-General in 2019, stated that part of his 4-year strategic plan is to re-position CVC as an enterprise knowledge platform, to help the leadership of Nigeria university system to see how we can provide information, data about various scenarios.
"Also to position the CVC to showcase the very difficult jobs the VC’s are doing in the Nigerian universities system and let the public know that in addition to just being a VC, we are adding a tremendous value and sacrifices, doing a lot of data aggregation (using data to guide our decision and process)," he stated.
The Secretary-General also disclosed that the CVC is working with the Nigerian Copyright Commission to drive the university intellectual properties policy.
In his response, the Vice- Chancellor, Prof. Olufemi Peters thanked the team for felicitating with him while assuring the team that NOUN is willing to tag along with CVC plans.
Speaking on the issue of IP, the VC said the university has been working on it, but didn’t realize it has to be registered.
“We will get it registered once the university approves on it," he stated.
According to Peters, "if there is any university that requires plagiarism test, it’s NOUN, because we have large number of students.
“We don’t know what they are doing in their various houses, they turn in their term papers, thesis etc being supervised by academic staff in other universities.
“We are taking it serious, and that is why late last year we deployed turn-it-in for every academic staff, any student before submission must pass through turn-it-in and our threshold is 40, once it passes, we allow you to go,” he stated.
The turn-it-in, the VC also stated, is a lot of money due to number of students NOUN is engaging , adding that the university is looking at how to sustain it,” but if Eaglescan proves as worthy as turn-it-in, I think we would rather go and pay," he added.
Peters also suggested that if there is any way CVC can come up with access to data, access to internet policies; it will also help the university.
He further thanked the CVC for acknowledging that NOUN has helped other universities in such regards.
“We have been involved in training almost all the universities that NUC wanted to approve to be dual, our university has been involved in training all of them, we have a little bit edge and we are glad we are able to do it.
"So if there is anyway you can assist us, you can help us to do brand officers, we will be glad," he added.