Abuja – Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) has said that the issue of education has been a major challenge in the country.
Okojie told newsmen in Abuja that education was actually crisis-defined.
He said the challenges in the education sector were general, adding that there was no part of the world where people were not complaining about standards and problems of education.
He said the only way to solve the problems was through effective national planning in the sector.
Okojie assured, however, that the Education Trust Fund would impact positively on Nigeria’s education sector.
He said all stakeholders must contribute to addressing the problems in the education sector, adding that the office of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in the presidency had funded a lot of projects in the sector, including giving exposure to teachers to improve on their skills.
He said government had put in place many changes in the educational sector to revamp education and so many special task forces had been established to examine the sector and produce roadmaps for its improvement.
Okojie added that government had intervened in revitalising existing infrastructures in tertiary institutions to create an enabling environment for improvements.
He noted that Nigeria had spent so much on education in recent times and that in the past three years, funding for capital development in federal Universities was more than the total budgeted in the past 10 years.
He said that in the last three years, government had facilitated the training of 4,000 academic staff in its universities to ensure quality assurance.
Okojie decried a situation where some tertiary Institutions award degrees to students who did not merit them.
“We have tried over the years to set the issue of quality assurance in the university system right, but the truth is that some professors running some of the private universities know the right thing, but do the wrong thing.
“At the end of the day, a lot of people complain about the graduates from these private institutions.
“There was a recent recruitment at the NNPC; the minimal requirement was a Second Class Upper degree; the likelihood is that if you went to university of Ibadan or the University of Ife, you would make a Second Class Lower degree, which means that you will not qualify for that list.
“Whereas some of these private universities will have up to 10 First Class degree holders and about 60 per cent and above of the students make Second Class Upper division. People are just awarding degrees in the name of awarding degrees,’’ he said.
Okojie said the Commission was facing the challenge of not only proposing the minimum academic standards, but ensuring that the standards of examination of the universities and quality of graduates they produce were excellent. (NAN)