BY DAYO ADESULU
Committee of Provosts and Deans of Postgraduate Colleges and Schools (CPDPGCS) in Nigerian Universities has said that systemic self-destruction of Nigeria’s University System is occasioned by bad university governance and strikes by staff unions.
According to CPDPGCS, the aforementioned disruptive activities had impacted negatively not only the quality of graduates being produced but also the quality of research and its output.
The CPDPGCS during their 59th meeting held at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State from Wednesday, March 24 to Friday, March 26, 2021 decried that the general weakness in the quality assurance process put in place to strengthen teaching.
They identified that there is a general decline in the quality of graduates of various postgraduate programmes turned out by Nigerian Universities.
”There appears to be a general weakness in the quality assurance process put in place to strengthen teaching, learning and examinations of courses and postgraduate dissertations and theses in Nigeria’s Universities,” CPDPGCS said.
The authorities of CPDPGCS further posited that there is undue interference of professional bodies in the administration of various Universities programmes causing needless conflicts and confusion that could affect the quality of graduates.
They pointed out that the inability to maximize research outputs from Nigerian Universities could be linked to the paucity of funds to drive research activities in our Universities.
It, therefore, decried that the Universities had remained an enclave for too long and for this reason, remained isolated from industries they could partner with to attract funds to drive innovative research.
The Body, therefore, recommended that: ”The Postgraduate Colleges and Schools in Nigerian Universities must continue in engaging in innovative research through collaborative efforts with the research supervisors placing emphasis on areas of their specializations and making it to be in tandem with the research interest of the students they supervise and the needs of the society.
”There is an urgent need for every administrator of postgraduate programmes in Nigerian Universities to improve the quality of their graduates, especially PhD graduates, by strengthening and making relevant the quality assurance system in our Universities particularly, the internal and external elements, to cover teaching, research and community service. Every University should stay focused on the Vision, Mission, Philosophy, Goals and Aims for which the University was established as loss of focus could adversely affect standards and the quality of its graduates.
”The Senate of various Universities should take charge of their postgraduate programmes at all levels by enforcing its regulations and restrict the involvement of the professional bodies in the advisory roles.
”The Universities in Nigeria should put mechanisms in place to ensure judicious use of available resources due to competing needs. Efforts should be made to diversify the sources of research funding by encouraging multinational companies operating in Nigeria through appropriate legislation to invest in research in addition to their contributions to TETFUND for global competitiveness and development.
”The Universities should open up their doors and begin to meaningfully partner with various segments of the society, particularly the industries, in order to attract meaningful support for their research projects.
”Appeals for constructive engagements with all aggrieved parties in order to make them flourish so that the critical mass of scholars in the Universities could drive research from which the society could benefit.”
Meanwhile, at the CPDPGCS meeting, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Professor Toyin Ogundipe said in the race of excellence there was no finish line, and therefore, quality assurance remained a key invariant in the quest for quality education globally.
He made this assertion while presenting a key paper at the forum.
In his paper titled, Quality Assurance in Postgraduate Education in Nigeria, Professor Ogundipe highlighted and dissected the challenges of quality assurance in postgraduate education especially in a developing economy such as Nigeria.