The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has rejected the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards, accusing it of imposition.
According to the union, it is a nightmare, a threat to quality university education, and an erosion of the university Senate’s powers in Nigerian universities.
This disclosure is contained in a statement titled ‘Imposition of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) on Nigerian Universities’, issued on Friday by the National President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who described the NUC’s action as usurpation of the university senate’s powers.
ASUU explained that its reaction followed several complaints it received on the threats posed by the CCMAS to quality university education and the erosion of powers of the university Senate in Nigerian universities.
Osodeke said that it was inexplicable that NUC pre-packaged 70% CCMAS contents were being imposed on the Nigerian University System (NUS), adding that university Senates, who are statutorily responsible for academic programme development, were left to work on only 30%.
It stressed that there were growing concerns about the numerous shortcomings and gross inadequacies of the CCMAS documents.
Threats to quality university education
The statement from Osodeke partly reads,
- “The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has received several complaints on the threats posed by the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) to quality university education and the erosion of powers of university Senate in Nigerian universities.
- ‘’ASUU cannot turn deaf ears to widespread protests against CCMAS. It is inexplicable that the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) pre-packaged 70% CCMAS contents are being imposed on the Nigerian University System (NUS); leaving university Senates, who are statutorily responsible for academic programme development, to work on only 30%!
- “ASUU is not unaware that setting academic standards and assuring quality in the NUS is within the remit of the NUC. Section 10(1) of the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act, Cap E3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, enjoins the NUC to lay down the minimum standards for all universities and other degree awarding institutions in the Federation and conduct the accreditation of their degrees and other academic awards.
- “However, the process of generating the standard is as important (if not more important) than what is produced as “minimum standards”.
- “In this instance, the NUC has recently, through some hazy procedures, churned out CCMAS documents containing 70% curricular contents in 17 academic fields with little or no input from the universities. The academic disciplines covered are (i) Administration and Management, (ii) Agriculture, (iii) Allied Health Sciences, (iv) Architecture, (v) Arts, (vi) Basic Medical Sciences, (vii) Computing, (viii) Communication and Media Studies, (ix) Education, (x) Engineering and Technology, (xi) Environmental Sciences, (xii) Law, (xiii) Medicine and Dentistry, (xiv) Pharmaceutical Science, (xv) Sciences, (xvi) Social Sciences, and (xvii) Veterinary Medicine.’’
Portends serious danger, flawed
He maintained that there are growing concerns over numerous shortcomings and gross inadequacies of the CCMAS documents, adding that many university administrators, though dissatisfied, were shying away from making public comments on it.
The statement revealed that, however, some university Senates did not hide their displeasure with the ongoing efforts to impose CCMAS on Nigerian universities by the NUC.
- He added, “ASUU posits that CCMAS portends serious dangers for quality university education in Nigeria. It is an erosion of University Autonomy and Academic Freedom which the Union has advocated and struggled to defend over time.
- “CCMAS is an emasculation of university Senate which, by law and practice, should superintend curriculum review, examinations and award of degrees and certificates in each university. ASUU suspects the imposition of CCMAS as part of strategy for implementing the Nigerian University System Innovation Programme (NUSIP) of the World Bank. The Union rejected NUSIP in the 1990s.
- “We also reject the imposition of CCMAS on Nigerian universities now!
- “The CCMAS is a nightmarish model of curriculum reengineering. It is an aberration to the Nigerian University System. The CCMAS documents are flawed both in process and in content. There is no basis for the 70% “untouchable CCMAS,” which cannot stand the test of critical scrutiny of university Senates.”
However, it suggested that “NUC should encourage universities, as currently being done by the University of Ibadan, to propose innovations for the review of their programmes.
He noted, ”Proposals from across universities should then be sieved and synthesised by more competent expert teams to review the existing BMAS documents and/or create new ones as appropriate. The difference here is the bottom-up approach unlike the top-bottom or take-it-or-leave-it model of the CCMAS. “