NUC grants full accreditation to MOUAU non- agric programmes delisted by JAMB

The National University Commission ( NUC) has granted full accreditation to the non-agriculture related  programmes of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike ( MOUAU) in Abia State, recently delisted by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board ( JAMB).

JAMB's action was prompted by the  controversial directive by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the closure of all programmes outside the core mandate of  federal universities of agriculture.

Dean, College of Management Science ( COLMAS), Professor John Ihendinihu, who disclosed this  in an exclusive interview with The AUTHORITY in Umuahia, said that the NUC letter was a huge relief to the university in view of the emotional trauma occasioned by the action of JAMB.

A copy of the letter dated March 29 which was sighted by our correspondent indicated that six of the affected programmes - Accountancy,  Economics, Banking & Finance, Business Administration, Industrial Relations and Marketing have full accreditation , while Entrepreneurial Studies has interim accreditation.

According to the letter, NUC panel  was satisfied on the facilities on ground during its visit to MOUAU for resource accreditation in November 2016 .

Meanwhile JAMB which had earlier delisted the affected programmes from its brochure for admission into the 2017/2018 academic session is yet to restore them despite protests and criticisms trailing the action.

Students of the institution had penultimate week staged a peaceful protest on the campus demanding the restoration of the programmes on JAMB brochure.

They expressed concerns over the grave implications of the action and called for its immediate reversal.

There have been fury and mounting anxiety in the university community and across the state as  candidates seeking admission into the affected courses in the current JAMB registration are  stranded.

Disturbed by this confusion, Professor Ihendinihu queried the refusal of JAMB and the Ministry of Agriculture to reverse the 'toxic and retrogressive' policy when NUC that has the constitutional powers to determine the capacity of universities to mount programmes found MOUAU competent to run the affected programmes.

He contended that no government ministry or agency other than NUC is in a better position  to know the capacity of a university to run any academic programme, hence its judgment can not be controverted.

Professor Ihendinihu observed that the federal government must have been wrongly advised before giving support to the policy.

He insisted that the Act establishing the universities  empowered them to also pursue  programmes in related / allied disciplines in addition to their  tripodal mandate of "teaching, research, and extension in agriculture.

The Professor of Accounting wondered if those behind the controversial policy have clear understanding of the law establishing specialised universities, advising them to seek expert advise to save the country from the unnecessary pains of the ill- advised policy.

He regretted that stakeholders from the specialised universities were still meeting with the ministry officials on the way forward when JAMB hastily delisted the programmes from its current brochure.

" The implication is that if this policy is not reversed no candidate will be offered admission into any of these programmes in MOUAU this year. And you know that the population of COLMAS students is almost half of the total student population of this university.

" This is an abnormality because there is no agric operation that goes without COLMAS courses. Agriculture has gone beyond peasant farming ; we now talk of agribusiness and it can't do without courses in COLMAS.

" We are convinced that the Presidency was not properly briefed otherwise it would not have supported the policy. We should  stop embarrassing Nigeria before the global community because in other climes,  universities  of agriculture also run programmes outside agriculture."

Professor Ihendinihu said the policy if not immediately reversed was capable of escalating crime wave in Nigeria as some candidates who would be denied admission into the universities might easily resort to criminality.

" Time should not be lost in reversing this policy because it will increase the rate of crime. School fees in federal universities are always low and affordable but when you deny these candidates admission because universities in their catchment areas don't run the course of their choice some of them may resort to crime out of frustration".

He particularly expressed worry over the impact of the policy on Abia State with only one federal university, saying thousands of candidates seeking tertiary education from the state now have limited chances.

According to him, candidates from the old Imo State comprising Abia and Imo are the worst hit because the only federal universities in both states are specialised.

He  alleged  marginalisation against the South East geopolitical zone in the distribution of the 92 federal tertiary institutions in the country as the zone only has 13 against 20 in the North West, 17 in South West, and 15 in North Central.

Ihendinihu called on the political elite from the zone to rise to the challenge and secure the academic future of Igbo youths.

He however, commended the National Assembly for wading into the controversy, expressing hope of a better outcome.

Recall that based on the motion moved by Hon. Onuigbo representing Umuahia/ Ikwuano federal constituency at the House of Representatives, the House Committee on education was asked to look into the matter with a view to saving the situation.

Ihendinihu also challenged the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU) to join in the fight considering the fate of lecturers in the affected programmes whose job is now on the line.

He said that the position of COLMAS over the matter had been submitted to ASUU about two months ago but the union was yet to respond.

But when contacted, the ASUU Chairman in the university, Dr. Uzochukwu Onyebinama said the union only received presentation from COLMAS about two weeks ago, adding that ASUU still expects more information from the college before wading into the matter.

" There are still documents we want them to furnish us with and when they do so, we will take it up from there", he said.

Similarly, the National Vice President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke said the matter was a national issue and that the official position of the union could only be given by the President.

He however, said that his personal opinion was that all the necessary stakeholders should meet to define the meaning of " allied disciplines" that could be  pursued by specilaised universities, adding that when such is determined the affected universities should not cross the boundaries.

Osodeke also added that " no matter what happens, the job of lecturers who were properly recruited should not be tampered with for no fault of theirs".

Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council has called on the federal government to increase the number of conventional federal universities in the South East to help satisfy the increasing demand for tertiary education  by Igbo youths.

National President of OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro while reacting to the development, said the allocation of only three conventional federal university to South East with the highest number of candidates seeking tertiary education in the country was a deliberate act aimed at frustrating the academic quest of Ndigbo. 

He wondered why the North with less appetite for tertiary education would have more federal universities than the South , and called for the imbalance to be corrected.

Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu has also warned against converting MOUAU to a monotechnic by the unpopular closure of non- agric related disciplines.

He had told Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo during a town hall meeting in Umuahia that the policy would do more harm than good, and should be jettisoned.

Efforts by the immediate -past administration of the university to convert the institution to a conventional university met the brick wall at the senate as some senators insisted that the original mandate of the institution could not be discarded.

Photo of Dean , COLMAS, MOUAU, Professor John Ihendinihu.

From Steve Oko, Umuahia

NUC grants full accreditation to MOUAU non- agric programmes delisted by JAMB NUC grants full accreditation to MOUAU non- agric programmes delisted by JAMB Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 Rating: 5

No comments: