NUC develops new curriculum on gender for varsities

THE National Universities Commission has developed a new curriculum, ‘Gender and Transformative Leadership’, to be offered as one of the General Study (GST) courses in Nigerian universities.

Deputy executive secretary of the commission, Professor Chiedu Mafiana, explained that the introduction of Gender and Transformative Leadership as a course would help the youth in critical thinking on governance and politics.

He spoke at a two-day workshop for the development of Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards for Gender and Transformative Leadership as a General Study (GST) course for Nigerian universities, organised by NUC in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

He disclosed that the curriculum would be ready for adaptation by Nigerian universities in the 2016/2017 academic session for the fastest institutions, but by 2017/2018 academic year, it would be fully in place in all universities.

He said: “A lot has happened in the polity itself. Nigeria has been governed over the years more by unitary systems of government than democratic rule, and that has implication for an average young person.

“Even for our psyche, those of us who work at the level that we work; some of us are authoritarian. So, what this tries to achieve is to sensitise the polity itself, especially the youth we said are the leaders of tomorrow, to know that the next person is also as important as yourself.

“Indeed, it is believed, perhaps, we know that the other gender, the female gender, is reasonably not given its right of place.”

He said it has become imperative, therefore, to create that understanding for the youth that some of the barriers which are placed on a particular gender could be detrimental to the growth of the polity.

Mafiana added that in terms of leadership, the curriculum is being designed to transform the thinking of an average young person to believe that “when you bring a negative to a positive,” it’s more likely to enhance development.

UNESCO regional director, Dr Benoit Sossou, said the Gender and Transformative Leadership Curriculum has been developed and contextualised for Nigeria by 40 experts in 2014.

He added that the modules have already been used to train over 200 facilitators prior to the last general election in the country to advocate the importance of women participation in elections as leaders.

He noted that UNESCO has been committed to women’s empowerment and gender equality for many decades, mainstreaming gender in all its programmatic areas, integrating it in policy planning, programming, implementation and evaluation activities in all areas of UNESCO’s competence and implementing gender-specific programmes.