NUC’s New Curriculum Threatens University Autonomy –ASUU
ASUU President, Prof. Osodeke

NUC’s New Curriculum Threatens University Autonomy – ASUU

1 year ago
2 mins read

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has kicked against the newly designed Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS).

The academic body said the process leading to the curriculum development threatens university autonomy.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) recently developed  CCMAS for 17 disciplines in Nigerian universities. The curriculum stipulates the minimum academic requirements for the training of undergraduates in various disciplines.

However, ASUU through a statement by its national president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the process posed a threat to the autonomy of universities across the country.

According to Prof. Osodeke, universities, who are statutorily responsible for academic programme development made only 30 per cent input in the curriculum, while NUC contributed 70 per cent.

The ASUU president acknowledged that NUC has the mandate to set minimum academic standards for Nigerian universities but not without a significant contribution of the institutions’ authorities.

Part of the statement 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.

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“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.”

17 Programmes covered in the New NUC Curriculum

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.


CCMAS Suppresses Powers of university Senate

The ASUU president further stated that the curriculum design has fundamental flaws and amounts to suppression of the powers of university senate which is empowered by law to oversee curriculum review, and other activities such as examinations and award of degrees and certificates in each university.

“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,” the academic body said.

“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.”

ASUU however, called on NUC to encourage universities, (as currently being done by the University of Ibadan), to propose innovations for the review of their programmes.

“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,” the statement added.



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