Chris Steven, Abuja
The National Universities Commission has declared its intention to review all academic programmes ran in Nigerian Universities with a view to weeding out courses not necessarily relevant to developmental needs.
The move, was announced by the Executive Secretary,Abdulrasheed Abubakar on Thursday, when he met with Directors of Academic Planning in all public and private universities in Nigeria at the Commission’s headquarters,Abuja.
According to Abubakar, NUC came up with the decision to review the courses having taken pains to understudy why Nigeria was lagging behind in all ramifications.
He said the universities regulatory agency would not be averse to new programmes that would challenge the status quo, noting that institutions were at liberty to bring up new course concepts put same in proposal form to the Commission after which they will be scrutinized and allowed to run concurrently in the entire system.
“NUC has taken a decision to start a comprehensive review of the curriculum of all academic programmes being ran in Nigerian Universities and we intend to be quite flexible about it, allowing universities to think innovatively in the review process.
We will not be averse in anyway, we will welcome a situation where each of the university can come up with courses which will challenge the status quo. Universities will be allowed to submit these ideas through proposals to NUC which we will all scrutinize and institutionalize if need be.
NUC is developing Benchmark for Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS), hence the Commission has increased courses ran in most universities but we have also been flexible in the curriculum offered at Post Graduate programmes.
These ideas are being considered due to profound changes going on around the world particularly in the knowledge industry, we will appreciate the request of universities to develop new academic programmes that may not have been in existence, courses like cyber security, forensic science, among others which are assuming relevance in the world today.
We will never be a stumbling block to any university that will dare to be different. Its a common trend all over the world where universities leverage on the knowledge gaps particularly in sciences to solve emerging challenges,” he said.
The NUC Boss also lamented the dearth of database that can actually aid development processes.
He said more often than not, the country was losing a lot from the international community because they find it difficult to assist Nigeria owing to inadequate database.
The NUC scribe said the country ought to have advanced to a position where data on any subject matter could be readily accessed, rather than statisticians brandishing data which are inconsistent with realities on ground.
His words, “It is sad that what we do not have accurate data bank in our universities and part of the reasons this meeting was called is for academic planners to also discuss best ways to generate reliable and accurate data.
NUC has resolved to resume the publication of Nigeria university statistics, until we are able to gather accurate data, we will not be taken seriously in the world.
There are many international agencies that may want to intervene in our tertiary education sector. But when the data is not there they will move to the next African country.
I also find it embarrassing that NUC is operating without proper database, without data planning can be somehow difficult. I want to be able to hold my head high and respond to any request that requires accurate data, not approximating because most times these figures are just concocted by people who really do not know”.