The poor quality of graduates of part-time programmes in universities is partly responsible for the decay in Nigeria’s education sector, says Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission.
Speaking on Sunday in Abuja, Okojie said that activities of institutions offering part-time programmes were giving the education sector a bad image and raising questions on the quality of graduates produced.
“The part-time programme is giving us a bad name; we have students who go through the back-door to earn certificates of universities that have reputation,” he said.
“If the University of Benin has 25,000 students as regular students and 23,000 as part-time students, you can’t possibly put your eyes on those 23,000; it is not going to happen.”
Okojie stated that the reputations of universities had been tainted because of the part-time programmes, usually run for financial benefits.
He said, however, that a mechanism was being put in place to upgrade such programmes and allow for effective monitoring of the courses offered through distance learning.
According to him, the NUC had already accredited the first 42 programmes under the Distance Learning programme.
“We have been moderating them; they started with all sorts of programmes with the undergraduates, but they could not cope with the study centres,” he said.
According to him, the rationale behind the setting up of nine new federal universities was to make varsity education more accessible.
It would also help in developing the states in which the institutions were sited, he added.
“The nine planned institutions are in the states where we do not have any federal university,” he said.
“For instance, we have yet to establish universities in Yobe, Zamfara and other states.”
The NUC executive secretary said the idea of setting up more universities was in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda, as it was the first time in many years that brand new universities were being established.
Okojie however admitted that a lot of effort was needed to improve and build a stronger institutional framework in the sector.