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The importance of NUC in university regulations

NIGERIA’S first generation universities, University College,
Ibadan, University of Ife, Ahmadu Bello University, University
Nigeria, University of Lagos and University of Benin,
graduates with Bachelors degrees which were accepted
everywhere in the world for those wanting to pursue advanced
degree courses. This was the common experience in the United
States, where some, coming for their Master’s Degree
programmes were given extra credits for work already done as
undergraduates in Nigeria.
It is difficult to pinpoint when the change occurred, but, there
no dispute anymore that the products of our universities are
increasingly being rejected for post-graduate education
overseas – without first undertaking some remedial courses.
Even here at home, employers of labour are finding it
to engage Nigerian youth directly out of school. Two
institutions, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB,
and National University Commission, NUC, which were
introduced to help maintain high standards for admission and
scholarship (after induction) had over the years let us down.
some of the same reasons, politicization of admission, under-
funding, corruption in the citadels of learning and moral
degeneracy in society at large, they have stopped being part of
the solution to our educational problems, they are now part of
the problem. This week, we look at the NUC and its role in the
decline of Nigerian university education.
Among its cardinal functions, the NUC is supposed to ensure
that out universities meet minimum standards in terms of
resources and manpower, for each course offered, in order to
able to produce graduates considered fit to compete in a global
village. Even its own staff from Professor Julius Okojie to the
gatemen will readily admit that it has failed woefully to
maintain standards everywhere. In fact, the Nigerian
universities which are in full compliance with the guidelines
established by NUC can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Let us take staffing as an example.
NUC, several years ago stipulated that all university lecturers
must have doctorate degrees. At the time the announcement
was made, less than fifty per cent of the teaching staff of
universities possessed doctorate degrees. Since then, the
number of universities in Nigeria, Federal, State and private,
more than doubled. That would ordinarily mean having twice
many lecturers today as ten years ago. Since less than half of
Nigerian lecturers were qualified, at the time, it actually meant
increasing the number of doctorate degree holders in our
universities by four hundred per cent.
It is not clear if the NUC undertook any studies to determine
feasibility of its instructions to the universities, in this regard.
But, the result today speaks volumes about the futility of giving
an order which cannot be obeyed without virtually closing
all Nigerian universities – including the best private
institutions. Furthermore, not only is the situation now
hopeless, it threatens to get worse in the future. The question
is: what went wrong?
The first mistake was inadvertent. The NUC could not have
foreseen all the private universities springing up; neither could
it have known that President Jonathan would open eleven
universities within five years. Such unforeseen occurrences
mess up the most meticulous plans. Today, there is none of the
universities established by President Jonathan which can
graduate people considered well-educated at the university
level. Unfortunately, Federal universities, despite their
inadequacies, are miles ahead of the typical state university –
most of which cannot even be described as glorified secondary
If predictable staffing inadequacy is a serious problem, the
visitor to most of our universities, especially their science
departments, should be ready for the shock of a life-time. By
and large, Nigerian universities are simply not graduating
scientists able to compete with their counterparts in the world.
Increasingly, our supposed leaders of tomorrow are getting set
to be losers of tomorrow. Our universities, in the main, are not
equipping them to compete with anybody else in the world.
years from now, Nigeria will still be importing toothpicks from
India or China because there are no Nigerian technologists to
search for wood which can be drilled into toothpicks and no
engineers to develop the manufacturing plants to produce them.
Plateau State University, Bokkos, serves as a good example of
how bad the situation has become. Nine years after it was
started, and five years after admitting students, there is not a
single graduate to show for the effort. Meanwhile, students and
parents have seen their dreams turned to nightmares. If one of
its missions is to develop global standard universities in
Nigeria, the NUC has failed woefully and should either be
scrapped or totally overhauled. At the moment all one sees is a
lot of people well-paid and failing in their missi

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