Nigerian Vice Chancellors want NDPC to help protect university students’ data


The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), has called upon the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) in order to ensure the protection of Nigerian students’ data in universities. Professor Yakubu Ochefu, the Secretary General of CVCNU, who called for a capacity building on data protection for students and senior officers of Nigerian universities, made the request during a visit by CVCNU members to Dr Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of NDPC in Abuja.

Professor Ochefu noted the need for the committee to get familiar with the 2023 Nigerian Data Protection. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of data protection for Nigerian students, stating that Nigeria should have enforced a data protection law years back. In Ochefu’s words, he assured the commitment of Nigerian universities to play significantly in the implementation of the Act, hence, the need to seek the partnership of the NDPC. 

Moving forward on the highlights of the meeting in Abuja, Prof. Ochefu mentioned that there are 264 universities with Vice Chancellors who also have a duty to be Chief Data Protection Officers of the Universities they lead and that the average VC is entrusted with four roles in the University.

“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,” he said.

According to Ochefu, an average Vice Chancellor serves as the Chief Accounting Officer, Executive Officer, Academic Officer, and Security Officer.  

He further stated that the committee will engage with NDPC to see how both parties can work together and organize a capacity workshop for Vice Chancellors and Data Officers that will be maximized, noting that this will enable both parties to have the template in place for what needs to be done to enhance the compliance process and have everyone on board.   

Response of the NDPC

The National Commissioner of NDPC, Dr. Olatunji, acknowledged the efforts of the CVCNU particularly in requesting for partnership on Data Protection in the Nigerian educational sector.  He added 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 is a very critical sector to us,“ he said. 

Nigerian Vice Chancellors want NDPC to help protect students' data
Dr. Olatunji and Prof. Ochefu

According to the NDPC, a Memorandum of Understanding between the NDPC and CVCNU to drive the collaboration is expected to be signed soon.

Read More: NDPC orders banks, telcos to apply for data protection monitoring before December

Why data protection should be treated with importance in the Nigerian educational sector

Data protection plays a critical role in the Nigerian educational sector for various reasons and so should be treated with importance because It ensures the privacy of students and staff, respecting their rights and preventing unauthorized access or misuse of personal information.

Moreover, compliance with data protection regulations, such as the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), is essential to help educational institutions avoid legal issues and potential fines. Additionally, a robust data protection framework builds trust among students, parents, and staff, thereby enhancing the institution’s reputation.

Furthermore, data security is paramount in safeguarding sensitive information, including academic records and financial data, which helps prevent data breaches and cyberattacks that can have serious consequences. Protecting research data and intellectual property rights is another crucial aspect, as it fosters innovation and academic excellence.

Ethical considerations also come into play by promoting responsible data handling and research practices within the educational sector.

Implementing data protection measures early on can lead to long-term benefits by saving institutions from costly data recovery efforts and potential damage to their reputation.

Read More: Why Nigeria’s new Data Protection law may yet benefit its digital economy

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