Nigerian Graduates Highly Valued, Sought After – Osinbajo

Nigerian Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that despite the challenges faced by the country’s Universities, Nigerian Graduates are highly valued and sought after globally, this is even as the National Universities Commission (NUC) unveiled new universities curriculum for Minimum Academic Standards.

Osinbajo spoke yesterday in an occasion to mark the 60th Anniversary of the NUC in Abuja.

He said, “so far, NUC has discharged its functions over the years credibly and must be congratulated.

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“Despite the challenges faced by our universities, Nigerian Graduates are highly valued and sought after. This is the testimony to the global recognition of the quality of training in our Universities.

“I therefore, salute the courage and hard work of the successive managements and staff of the NUC for their contribution to
the growth of this reputable commission, he said.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Vice President said, the 60th Anniversary affords NUC the opportunity to evaluate its performance over the years and work on strategies for the future.

He noted that while establishing new universities, the “Federal government was not oblivious of the funding challenges of the existing ones, assuring that government was working to ensure that Federal Universities were given the necessary support to drive through its commitment in supporting the NUC as it pursues its mandate of ensuring that quality is attained, maintained, and enhanced in our universities”.

Osinbajo said, “the NUC has passed through many phases in the past 60 years, adding that the Federal Government gave more regulatory power and functions to the NUC

“The power to approve new programmes in Nigerian Universities and accredit them. The Commission is also charged with the responsibility of developing guidelines, processing applications for establishing private Universities”.

The VP said, “one of the major issues bedevilling the University education in Nigeria is the incessant strike actions by various unions in our public institutions. For instance, the system has cumulatively lost about 50 months from 1999 to date as result of strike actions by ASUU. I doubt if there is any country that has spent such amount of time to strike in its university system”.

He said, 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 Renumerations.

“I believe we have come to a stage as a people and as a country especially those of you that are charged with the responsibility of administering our Universities to start an
honest conversation as to how to deal with these issues. Because we cannot continue to deal with them in a manner which we have dealt with them in the past and have not achieved the desires objectives”, he said.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed disclosed the unveiling of a new Universities curriculum as part of activities to mark the 60th Anniversary.

Rasheed said, 60 years ago, the NUC was created as an admirative department in the cabinet office with responsibility for coordinating the activities of the existing federal and regional universities, as well as acting as a channel for providing grants to the Federal Universities.

He said, the NUC became a statutory commission following the promulgation of decree No.1 of 1974 which gave it the mandate of ensuring the orderly development of universities in the country and assuring quality in the delivery of University education.

“I must acknowledge the effort of the then head of state, General Yakubu Gowan whose vision led to the creation of the statutory commission. A major milestone such as today’s anniversary presents us with the opportunity for reflection. It affords us ample room to ruminate on our journey so far, so as to evaluation our achievements, analyse our challenges and map out new strategies. It gives an opportunity for self-assessment of the commission and a renewed commitment on the part of nation building”, he said.

The NUC boss said, “the NUC has since inception presided over the growth of the University system from its humble beginning of five universities in 1962 to 220 universities in 2022. One of the mandates of NUC is to laid down minimum academic standards for programmes in Nigerian Universities and to accredit the degree programmes”.

He said, the development of the minimum academic standards document and incredible achievement at a time led to the NUC first accreditation in 89/90 session.

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