The Federal Government on Monday unveiled the Core Curriculum Minimum Academics Standards (CCMAS), which it said will reposition Nigerian universities to be among the best-rated in Africa.
The government had embarked on the review of Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS), the curricula being used for universities since 2007. It was the primary instrument for accreditation and other quality assurance exercises.
The executive secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), Abubakar Rasheed, speaking during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the commission and launch of the CCMAS in Abuja, said the new curriculum is for 17 disciplines and 238 academic programmes.
He noted that efforts to review the BMAS document in the past were met with several challenges, but in early 2020, with the support of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group and the university communities, the commission resumed the review of the existing BMAS, with the aim of producing a curriculum for universities that will be among the best rated on Africa in terms of relevance.
The executive secretary also informed that the commission will produce a policy guideline for the implementation of Trans National Education (TNE) in Nigeria that will allow reputable foreign universities into the Nigerian university space through different models, which include but not limited to the establishment of campuses in Nigeria and partnership with existing universities.
“The TNE will expand access to higher education, a problem faced by the growing population of young Nigerians desirous of university education. The national screening Committee on TNE will be inaugurated tomorrow to guide the implementation of the policy,” he added.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who unveiled the new university curricular, said the Federal Government was planning to review the university autonomy laws, following the recent agitations by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Osinbajo, represented by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, said one of the major issues bedevilling university education in Nigeria was incessant strikes by various unions in public universities.
He said, “The most recent strikes by the university-based unions have necessitated a revisit on the issues and scope of university autonomy by the 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 the university system has cumulatively lost over 50 months from 1999 to date as a result of strike actions by ASUU.
“I doubt if there is any country that has lost such an 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 the 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 hailed the foresight of the NUC in unbundling disciplines such as agriculture, as well as the emergence of three new disciplines, namely Allied Health Sciences, Architecture and Communication, and Media Studies.