A team from the World Bank, Association of African Universities (AAU) and the National Universities Commission (NUC) has advised the Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD), at the University of Jos, to engage more with collaborators from other ACEs on research, workshops, capacity building and on web visibility of the Centre, to showcase its activities.
The team also tasked the leadership of the Centre to make teaching more pedagogical, publish articles in relevant journals and engage business consultants in the manufacture of the Centre’s products.
The team comprised Dr. Michelle Niescierenko (Health Expert, World Bank), Professor Hadiza Galadanci (Health Expert, ACE Secretariat, NUC), Professor Jonathan Mba (Association of African Universities), Dr. Joshua Atah (ACE Project Coordinator) as well as Obiechefu Ukwuagu and Patricia Eromosele, Project Management Office with the nuc ACE Secretariat.
The visit, which was a follow up to the third supervision mission that took place in May, 2017, was to assess the progress of work at the Centre, monitor project implementation to ensure that identified challenges had either been addressed or were being addressed as well as to give expert feedback to ensure the continued success of the ACE Project.
Commending ACEPRD for its achievements over the past two years, Professor Niescierenko encouraged the project management team to double its efforts at enrolling foreign students, ensuring effective student internships and facilitating grant writing workshops for staff and students, among others. Professor Galadanci commended the Centre’s initiative in producing a student’s handbook, which she said would improve mentorship.
Earlier, the Centre Leader, Professor John Aguiyi, highlighted the progress made in the areas of students’ admission for the Master’s and doctoral programmes; accreditation of the Centre’s programmes; new collaborations; products and on-going researches.
The team, which also paid a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Seddi Maimako, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nelson Ochekpe, recalled that the last supervision mission in May, 2017 had noted significant weaknesses, especially in the areas of the University’s support to the Centre, weak Management/Governance structure and lack of student support processes. It commended ACEPRD for the success achieved since the last visit, stressing the World Bank and NUC’s concerns about the sustainability of the Centre, beyond the World Bank intervention.
Responding, Professor Ochekpe pledged, on behalf of the University Management, to give the Centre all the support it needed to succeed. He informed the team that the University had made some budgetary allocations to the Centre and would likely increase such support in the future.
The team thereafter inspected the Centre’s newly-equipped Laboratories and interacted with its students and staff as well as staff of other departments involved in the Centre’s work.
The World Bank team with one of the researchers at ACEPRD
Staff and students of ACEPRD, during the interaction with the World Bank delegation