The Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG), in collaboration with the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), organised a National Conference on Quality Education: Access and Rights Management in Nigeria (Q. Ed. 2017).
The Conference, among other things, focused on access to published works and rights management as a means to achieving sustainable tertiary publishing and global competitiveness. It examined the challenges confronting tertiary publishing in Nigeria; the needs of persons with print disabilities; and also witnessed the formal presentation of the Standard Licence Agreement for Tertiary Educational Institutions, which had been negotiated between REPRONIG and AVCNU.
In attendance were representatives of tertiary institutions, authors, publishers, booksellers, copyright administrators, librarians, media practitioners as well as blind and visually impaired persons. Also participating were representatives of tertiary institutions, relevant associations, government agencies, International Authors Forum (IAF); International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO); Norwegian Copyright Development Association (NORCODE); and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
After careful deliberations, the Conference made the following specific recommendations:
- Federal and State Governments should devote more resources to the education sector and ensure their judicious use to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.
- The NUC, NBTE, NCCE, and other regulatory and quality assurance agencies should intensify efforts to ensure that Nigerian tertiary institutions are more globally competitive.
- Publishers and tertiary institutions should be more acquainted with the TETFUND Guidelines and cooperate with the agency to promote sustainable book development in Nigeria.
- The NCC, REPRONIG and other relevant stakeholders should collaborate more to promote copyright awareness in Nigerian tertiary institutions and encourage them to subscribe to global best practices in the use of the copyright system and its licensing provisions to access educational materials and improve the quality of education.
- In order to promote legal access and enhance quality education, tertiary institutions should subscribe to the Standard Licence Agreement for Tertiary Educational Institutions negotiated by stakeholders and developed jointly by REPRONIG and AVCNU.
- The open education resource and other open access platforms should be implemented in a responsible manner, taking cognisance of the need to encourage local authorship and publishing, promote quality education, and forestall copyright abuses.
- Nigerian publishers should put in place appropriate measures that will engender greater trust between them, authors and other stakeholders in the book chain.
- All concerned stakeholder groups should develop strong advocacy strategies and demand for the quick passage of the Draft Copyright Bill to give effect to the obligations and benefits under the recently ratified copyright treaties.
- Working with REPRONIG and NAB, the publishing industry should adopt inclusive publishing and ensure that their books are more readily available in accessible formats for the benefit of blind and visually impaired persons.
- The National Book Policy should address the need to make books available in accessible formats to blind and visually impaired persons.
- Working with NCC and NPA, REPRONIG should explore ways of ensuring that blind and visually impaired persons benefit from the implementation of the provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty, particularly the facilities available under the Accessible Book Consortium.
Participants thanked IAF, IFRRO, IPA, NORCODE and WIPO for their continued support to the Nigerian copyright system and expressed hope that the initiative of Q.Ed. 2017 will be sustained in the coming years.