Pre-degree and diploma programmes in Nigerian universities have been scrapped. The National Universities Commission (NUC), which took the action, instructed them to leave the running of such programmes for polytechnics and concentrate effort on producing human capital in the core undergraduate, part-time and post-graduate courses.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, gave this order at meetings held between October 10 and 12 with vice chancellors of the 143 universities in the country, according to a statement by the NUC yesterday.
He also directed that the research directorate of NUC be strengthened to work with those of universities. This is to co-ordinate research activities in universities and ensure relevance of their outputs. He said the 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.
The statement continued: "A comprehensive review of the entire university curricula (the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS)) 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."
NUC also warned that any university that failed to present its programmes for accreditation promptly without satisfactory reasons, given well in advance, would be denied same and the relevant agencies (JAMB and NYSC) duly notified.
"The accreditation of part-time programmes would ensure that they are of the same quality as the full-time programmes, thereby restoring public confidence in them," it said.
Rasheed urged universities to identify their areas of strength to mount joint Ph.D. programmes in view of increasing cost of training overseas.
He enjoined the vice chancellors to be creative and innovative enough to come up with new courses and programmes that would address emerging societal challenges.
He expressed NUC's readiness to work with them to develop the BMAS for such new programmes.