Nigeria’s Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, has warned of the dangers in allowing specialized universities to continue to offer courses outside their mandates.
Mr. Dalung who gave the warning on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Governing Councils of 23 federal universities in the country said it was the decision of the Federal Executive Council that the universities should stick to their specialties.
Specialized universities are those set up to pursue specific courses and programmes to generate manpower in particular sectors of the economy. They include universities of technology and those of agriculture.
“I am a member of the Federal Executive Council and I stand with the decision and the wisdom of specialized universities limiting themselves to their core mandate. The laws creating these universities are very clear.
“What business does the university of agriculture have in producing lawyers and accountants? If we are not careful, in future they will produce imams and pastors”, Mr. Dalung said.
According to the minister, the schools restricting themselves to their specialties will enhance research that will produce innovations that will enhance their capacity.
“We have so many universities of agriculture that abandoned their specialty and they are producing accountants and mechanics, they will soon be producing footballers.
“After carefully examining the laws that created these universities, the Federal Executive Council took this decision. We came to the decision that these universities should concentrate on their specialty. It was not an arbitrary decision. It has broad consultation. The AGF was invited so I think what we did was the best for the country for now.”
While congratulating the newly inaugurated governing councils, the minister said, “I am a teacher, I love teaching and I will prefer to die teaching. I am just a stranger in the comfort zone therefore I will speak with passion.”
Speaking earlier at the event, Suleiman Aminu, Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFund, said he does not believe that the decision to ban general courses offered by specialized universities has received the best consultation across the country.
“Some persons must be cut out from our universities of Agriculture and Technology but I don’t believe that decision has received the best of consultations across the country. I said it because we have received serious petitions disagreeing with this decision of the government.
“The world over, there are several universities of specialized fields that are actually not restricted to that particular discipline measure. We have met with the public, particularly those that are very informed on this issue. We have met with the representatives of NUC, JAMB and the vice chancellors and we will invite more for us to benefit from their knowledge.
“The laws establishing those institutions must be reviewed. If you go ahead and do it without actually changing the Act, there may be little problem. We are not against this change if it would benefit the system and Nigeria.
“We can assure you of our spot as usual but where there are concerns I think particularly are where the laws that established these institutions do not have very clear mandate. I think the Federal Executive Council should make consultations”, Mr. Aminu said.
The National Universities Commission, NUC, had earlier said that the process of dis-accrediting some courses being handled by specialized universities has commenced.
The NUC’s action follows a directive a few months ago by the Federal Ministry of Education that specialised universities should not handle courses outside their mandate.
The government further directed that such universities should stick to the core mandates for which they were set up and desist from running programmes which they were not meant to.
The education ministry had condemned the current situation where such universities offer programmes in law, accounting, and business administration, among others. It also said it was an aberration for such institutions to change the nomenclature of those controversial courses to read, for instance, Banking Engineering and Accounting Technology.
Source: Premium Times