The National Universities Commission (NUC) has scrapped sub-degree diploma programmes in the Nigerian University System (NUS), with a call on universities running them to begin the process of winding them down.
A comprehensive review of the entire university curricula (the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards) and ranking of Nigerian universities have also been scheduled for 2017, while two of the cardinal activities of the commission, Accreditation of Programmes and Resource Verification, will now take place only twice and thrice a year, respectively: May and November for accreditation as well as March, July and December for resource verification.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, NUC said ‘’All the universities are now to develop and implement an Institutional Research Policy; and, as a matter of urgency, establish a Research Administration Directorate, to be headed by an academic, not below the rank of a Professor; with appropriate human and material resources to run an Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (OIPTT) or Office of Technology Commercialisation and Industry Relations (OTCIR).’’
The NUC said, ‘’ A university that internalises quality would make the commission’s work easier because it would cover issues such as guidelines for the appointment and promotion of staff, research policy, applying for grants and judicious use of the same, the role of Senate in curricular development, admission of students, how teaching and learning take place, administration of examinations, appointment of external examiners, university ceremonies’’
On the scrapping of university diplomas, it said that running sub-degree diplomas was not the business of universities, but that of Polytechnics, more so when the federal government, as far back as November, 2001, had issued a circular stating that such diplomas could not be used for employment or promotion purposes in the public service. Rather than stretch their facilities to run sub-degree programmes, the universities, he said, should direct their energies towards their primary function of producing high level manpower for the economy.
by strengthening their part-time programmes, in addition to offering high quality undergraduate degrees as well as postgraduate diplomas and degrees. Nigerian Universities to identify their areas of strength/comparative advantage and collaborate among themselves to mount joint Ph.D programmes.
Aduma similarly stated that, For the comprehensive review of the university curricula, NUC would engage a mix of old, experienced and young, vibrant academics to come up with curricula that would not only be dynamic and responsive to national needs, but also conform to global trends. Reacting to the constant criticism of Nigerian universities’ poor showing in global ranking.
‘’Many of the variables, parameters and indicators of those rankings were outside the control of Nigerian universities and the NUC. According to him, “we, the managers of the universities are satisfied with the quality of our degrees and graduates because our good students, from good universities, who make 1 st Class, 2 nd Class Upper, even good 2nd Class Lower, go abroad for their masters and come back with distinctions and merits. Most of our graduates are qualitative and they can hold their own anywhere.”
The public universities were told to expect visitation panels before the end of the year. A summit on private universities will hold next year, where NUC’s position and those of the universities would be examined and a consensus reached.