The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), has appealed for the support of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) in building the capacityfor VCs and data officers in universities to ensure adequate protection of students’ data.
Professor Yakubu Ochefu, the Secretary General of CVCNU, who called for a capacity building on data protection for senior officers of Nigerian universities, made the request during a courtesy visit by CVCNU members to Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner/CEO of NDPC, at the commission’s office in Abuja. Professor Ochefu, while expressing his delight on the Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023, stressed the need for CVCNU members to be enlightened on Data Protection.
Noting that Nigeria should have come up with a data protection law years ago, Ochefu said Nigerian universities are ready to play their part in the implementation of the Act, hence, the need to seek the partnership of the NDPC.
VCs as Chief Data Protection Officers
Prof. Ochefu further stated that there are 264 universities with Vice Chancellors who now have a new cap to be Chief Data Protection Officers of the Universities they lead.
According to him, the average VC wears four caps in the University.
They serve as the Chief Accounting Officer, Executive Officer, Academic Officer, and Security Officer.
“I told them that they have a new cap which is now the Chief Data Officer of their university, the VCs immediately saw the value of Data Protection from the way forms are designed in the Universities, handling personal information, posting results on the wall and so on.
“We have come here to engage with you to see how we can work together and organize a capacity workshop for Vice Chancellors and Data Officers that will be employed, so that we have the template in place of what they need to do, to go through the compliance process and have everyone on-board,” he said.
Data protection in the education sector
Responding, the National Commissioner of NDPC, Dr. Olatunji, commended the efforts of the CVCNU led by Prof. Ochefu, particularly in requesting for partnership on the Data Protection subject matter.
He noted that the education sector is crucial, especially with the volume of personal data being processed on a regular basis.
“The education sector is even more peculiar, I remember when I was in university, at the end of every semester, we went to the notice board to check our results, our names, date of birth, matriculation number, everything about us, all our scores and grades were there. Having 2.6 million students, a lot of things must have been mismanaged and neglected, it’s a very critical sector to us,“he said.
According to the NDPC, a Memorandum of Understanding between the NDPC and CVCNU to drive the collaboration is expected to be signed soon.
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