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FG to benchmark calendar for PhDs

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..As panel decries unnecessary delay of completion

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA – THE federal government hinted Tuesday that it would review academic calendar for award of doctoral degrees in the nation’s universities.

The review,according to the National Universities Commission,NUC,which said this, was aimed at pegging a given calendar expected for the programme.

The government said the need to benchmark the programme became necessary following unnecessary delay by universities to let scholars pursuing the programmes go.

Executive Secretary of the NUC,Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, disclosed this while addressing participants at a workshop organised by the commission on proposed higher education reform and impact of African Centers of Excellence.

The Executive Secretary mentioned that the review was part of the recommendation made by the National Higher Education Reform Committee..

Professor Rasheed decried situations whereby scholars spend 10-15years before obtaining Doctoral Degrees.

He described the trend as tradition in some Nigerian universities.

The NUC Executive Secretary noted that for Nigeria to thrive ,the Nigerian academic community must consider itself critical and as stakeholders.

He disclosed that Nigeria in the next 30 years will double her population to becone 400million thereby making important for the Nigerian Universities to plan ahead so as to help the government.

Prof Rasheed emphasised the need to produce graduates who are not only nationally relevant but also internationally relevant.

”We have been motivated with general trend of knowledge ,NUC is working with other stakeholders to ensure that investment in education is investment for all. We therefore intend to help fast track Nigeria Nation from becoming oil resource based nation to knowledge based country”

Among other recommendations made by the reform committee includes curbing incidences of academic corruption, Curriculum review,enforcement of Academic Benchmarks ,development of minimum governance structure in Nigerian Universities.

“The reform committee recommended that by 2023 access to university education should have increased by 20%. Higher education is central to any attempt to reform in Nigeria as will make all sectors of the economy more functional” Prof Rasheed said

The World Bank Representative ,Andreas Blom said quality of education process and update of curriculum is more needed for reform of higher education in Nigeria.

Blom urged for increase autonomy of Universities and the need to reduce political influence in affairs Nigerian Universities.

“Reform of higher education in Nigeria should be gradual while evaluation of every stage should be considered. Reforms takes 10-15years and to achieve this reform, additional resources will be needed” He said.

He stressed that strike must be avoided in Nigerian Universities.

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