Our education lawyers issued this guide on reviewing students and faculty exchange agreements from industry and practice experience. Education law is gradually evolving into a practice area in Nigeria.
Generally, education law in Nigeria may be categorized into private or public as it concerns public or private educational institutions.
In addition to education laws, regulatory and compliance requirements for educational institutions in Nigeria, certain laws, regulations and compliance are specific to public educational institutions.
Namely, the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2011 apply specifically to public educational institutions. – FOI Act applies to private educational institutions that receive or utilize public funds.
The enabling legislation for each public educational institution, such as the University of Lagos Act and the University of Nigeria Act, and each statute made thereunder.
The ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Offences Commission Act) and ICPC regulate ethical conduct of employees of public educational institutions.
We considered emergent trends in education laws that govern public educational institutions here.
Faculty or Student Exchange
A faculty exchange programme is a collaborative activity of two educational institutions, united under a Memorandum of Understanding, exchanging the services of their selected faculties for a short period.
According to Wikipedia, a student exchange program is a program in which students from a secondary school or higher education study abroad at one of their partner institutions.
Exchange programmes are contractual relationships that are subject to relevant legislation. We consider an exchange programme a relational contract.
Why Students or Faculty Exchange Programme
The objectives of students or faculty exchange programme include to:
- foster opportunities for collaborative research, publications and colloquia.
- promote the personal and professional development of staff and student.
- facilitate the admission of qualified students from one Institution to the other to enroll in undergraduate and graduate programmes.
- develop taught student exchange links.
- develop taught programmes.
- exchange of academic materials and publications.
- provide cultural and intellectual enrichment opportunities for staff and students.
- provide opportunities for attendance on International Summer School and other short courses at the respective parties.
We submit that exchange programmes among faculty and students of Nigerian secondary schools, colleges and tertiary institutions will help promote the One Nigerian agenda and help to achieve some of the National Orientation Agency and NYSC (national youth services corps) mandates.
Students or Faculty Exchange Programme
Our education lawyers regularly assist a globally ranked business school with faculty and student exchange agreements.
A memorandum of understanding (the “MOU”) is the preferred contract form for students or faculty exchange agreements.
An MOU is generally considered non-binding unless the nature of the obligations may be interpreted by an ordinary businessperson – of the parties’ sophistication – as intended to be binding.
Parties to Students or Faculty exchange agreements may be identified as the host institution or school and home institution or school.
The host institution or school is the school that receives the exchange student or faculty. The home institution or school is the school that sends the exchange student or faculty as its primary employer or school.
Nigerian Laws Respecting Students or Faculty Exchange
Nigerian laws that may apply to faculty or student exchange agreement include:
- Employment: Nigerian Labour Act and ILO (International Labour Organization) Conventions. The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (the “NICN”) can enforce ILO Conventions even if Nigeria has not domesticated such conventions.
- Tort Laws: Nearly all States in Nigeria enacted Tort Laws under which Host Institutions or Schools may be liable to the students or faculty for HSE (health safety and environments), harmful or damaging publications.
- Intellectual Property Laws: the MOU should specify the ownership of works developed during an exchange programme. Such as underlying works, jointly developed works, and works developed by individuals.
- FOI: Certain allowances or expenses must be disclosed under the FOI (Freedom of Information Act). We noted above the extent of such disclosures and why they must be incorporated into the exchange programme agreement.
- Human rights: A Nigerian school must acknowledge all human rights in Nigerian but not international human rights that are illegal in Nigeria, such as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and questioning or Queer).
- Insurance: Insurance practice is emerging in Nigeria. Yet, an education lawyer must ensure that the insurance premiums are not benchmarked against international standards. A one-million-dollar insurance premium is unrealistic – unaffordable – in the Nigerian context.
- Data protection: Nigerian Data Protection Regulation 2019 applies to both private or public educational institutions.
- Other laws include cybercrime, corruption, and discrimination.
Education Lawyers’ Role in Exchange Agreements
Education lawyer’s practice includes reviewing a student and faculty exchange contract. Students or faculty exchange programmes require careful attention to detail and thorough analysis.
An education lawyer must review the student and faculty exchange contract by studying the entire document from start to finish. Education lawyers ensure they understand all the terms and conditions, as well as the obligations of each party.
Check for legal compliance: Verify that the exchange contract complies with all relevant laws and regulations. Check that the contract is valid and enforceable in the jurisdiction where it will be executed.
Assess the terms of the agreement: Review the terms of the exchange agreement to ensure that they are unambiguous. Look for any potential areas of disagreement or conflict between the parties.
Review the liability and indemnification clauses: Check the liability and indemnification clauses to ensure they are fair and reasonable. Specify who is responsible for any damages or losses during the exchange.
Assess the termination provisions: Review the termination clause to determine the events of termination. It is prudent to highlight the consequences of termination for both parties.
Finally, consider the governing law and jurisdiction. We recommend that the host institution or school sues the home institution in its own country and vice versa. A neutral jurisdiction is an alternative.
Reviewing a student and faculty exchange contract requires a thorough understanding of the terms and conditions of the agreement. It is essential to carefully analyze the contract and seek legal advice if necessary to ensure that the contract is legally compliant, fair and protects the interests of all parties involved.
We submit that exchange programmes will enable faculty and students to gain capacities and learn contemporary trends in education Such trends include pedagogy, personalized education, curriculum development, multicultural outlook, emotional intelligence, and cultural and social development.
Education lawyers at SRJ can assist you with alumni network management, curriculum development from an industry viewpoint, regulatory and compliance, and general commercial contracts. We act as an outsourced legal department for Lagos Business School.