Accreditation: Experts seek harmony between NUC, professional bodies

Professor Peter Okebukola

CONCERNED about the seeming friction between the National Universities Commission and professional bodies in accreditation of some courses in Nigerian universities, a team of experts have suggested ways to end the crisis.

The experts, comprising 140 professors, in a study conducted by a former executive secretary of the NUC, Professor Peter Okebukola, advised both NUC and professional bodies to cooperate and send joint teams to carry out accreditation visits.

The study was contained in his paper presentation, ‘On the March to Reinvent the Curricula of Nigerian Universities for Improved Relevance and Global Competitiveness’.

However, according to the study, some of the experts recognised NUC as the sole regulatory body of academic standards of the universities, and described activities of the professional bodies as encroaching beyond their limits.

They believed that professional bodies like the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) should channel their recommendations through the NUC, rather than arm-twisting individual universities.

Tribune Education recalls that the University of Abuja had been enmeshed in a protracted crisis over this accreditation issue until lately when the current vice chancellor, Professor Michael Adikwu, addressed some of the demands of the professional bodies, even when NUC had grtanted some of the affected courses accreditation.

The accreditation crisis led to series of protests, especially by students from the affected programmes, and a shutdown of the university at intervals.

Okebukola’s study accordingly advised the commission to reclaim its leadership position on matters concerning accreditation as enshrined in the law establishing it.

“If NUC fails to checkmate these incursions, it should be ready to expect Pandora’s boxes of new professional bodies, as they open up accreditation queries on Nigerian universities and their financial involvement thereof,” the report said.

Some of the experts further suggested that the NUC and the professional bodies should harmonise their standards into one comprehensive minimum benchmark.

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