FG to amend law on varsities’ autonomy as NUC unveils new curriculum 

The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to amend relevant laws to give autonomy to Nigerian universities  to ensure stable academic calendar. 

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, made this known Monday in Abuja at an event organised by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to mark its 60th anniversary and the launch of Core Curriculum Minimum Academics Standards (CIMAS).

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Osinbajo expressed concerns over frequent agitations and industrial actions by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions in the nation’s higher education institutions . 

“The most recent strike actions by the university-based unions have necessitated a revisit on the issues and scope of university autonomy by government.

“This will lead to a review of the university autonomy laws to appropriately address funding, including staff remuneration, institutional governance, and administration, as well as issues relating to internally generated revenue,” he said.

Osinbajo lamented that the university system has cumulatively lost over 50 months from 1999 to date as a result of strikes by ASUU.

“I doubt if there is any country that has lost such amount of time to strikes in its university system. From the first strike in 1978 to date, all the issues have remained the same. The agitations have been primarily on funding, university autonomy, and remunerations.

“I need to stress here that government alone cannot fund education in the country. It is therefore imperative that a sustainable model of funding university education must be developed,” he noted.

Osinbajo, however, commended NUC for unbundling Agriculture, and the emergence of three new disciplines, namely Allied Health Sciences, Architecture and Communication, and Media Studies.

The launch of CIMAS, he said, would usher in a new era in the delivery of quality and relevant content.

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, commended NUC for its various success stories since its inception in 1962, saying government alone cannot effectively fund education and called for support of all stakeholders. 

The minister said NUC has the sole right of regulating programmes run in the nation’s university system, and warned professional bodies in the country against usurping such powers. 

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said from its humble beginning of regulating only few universities in 1962, the Commission has grown to a new height  and currently superintending 220 universities in the country that cut across federal, state and privately-owned institutions. 

Speaking on the new curriculum, Rasheed noted that core curriculum and minimum academic standards were brought about after a comprehensive review of Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards, adding that it provides 70 per cent of what should be taught along with the expected outcome, while the university will provide 30 per cent based on their contextual peculiarities and characteristics.

He said the move should was to meet global standards and international best practices towards preparing Nigerian graduates for relevance in the fourth revolution world economy with the skills needed for the future.

The event attracted heads of education agencies, United Kingdom Education Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, former Executive Secretaries of NUC, Vice Chancellors, among other dignitaries from within and outside Nigeria.

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