The National Universities Commission (NUC) move to impose Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) on universities exempting the contribution of several senates has been met with contrary reaction from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). In a statement signed by the ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the union claims that CCMAS poses a “serious risk” towards maintaining high quality in Nigerian university education. He described it as an affront to the academic freedom and university autonomy that the union has long stood up for.
Curriculum revision, examinations, and the conferral of degrees and certificates in each of the universities are all functions of the university Senate by law, but CCMAS is seen as an emaciation to the Senate’s authority. The union believes that the imposition of CCMAS is a tactic to implement the World Bank’s Nigerian University System Innovation Programme (NUSIP). Be aware that the union previously rejected NUSIP in the 1990s and is now firmly opposed to the imposition of CCMAS on Nigerian universities. CCMAS, according to Prof. Osodeje, is an inferno paradigm of curriculum restructuring and an anomaly to the Nigeria University System (NUS).
Widespread opposition to CCMAS cannot go unnoticed.
According to him the CCMAS documents are inaccurate in both method and content, which the supposed perfect 70 percent CCMAS would fail the rigorous review of university senates. He said that the National Universities Commission (NUC) should push universities to provide novel ideas for the evaluation of their programmes, just as the University of Ibadan does now. He also suggested forming more qualified expert teams to analyze the current BMAS document and, if necessary, create ones before any action is taken on the recommendations submitted by numerous universities.
In contrast to the CCMAS’s top-to-bottom or take-it-or-leave-it strategy, this one works from the bottom-up. Prof. Osodeke said the union has received many complaints about the CCMAS’s potential risk to university education in Nigeria and the Senate’s dereliction of authority, stressing that the widespread opposition to CCMAS cannot go unnoticed by the union. The NUC’s insistence that the NUS adopt its pre-packaged version of the CCMAS, comprising 70% of the total, is perplexing given that university senates who are statutorily tasked with developing academic programmes are left with just 30 percent.
Standard-setting procedure is as crucial as the minimum standards.
Prof. Osodeke continued by saying that the ASUU is aware of the fact that the NUC is responsible for establishing academic standards and guaranteeing quality in the NUS. However, Section 10 (1) of the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act, Cap E3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 requires the NUC to establish minimum standards for all universities awarding degrees in the Federation and to accredit all degrees and other academic awards granted by such a university. Prof. Osodeke pointed out that the standard-setting procedure itself is just as crucial as the minimum standards.
He said that the NUC recently produced CCMAS documents covering 70 percent of curricular concepts across 17 disciplines with little or no participation from the institutions by following unclear procedures. Agriculture, Allied Health, Architecture, (v) Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Computing, Communication and Media Studies, Education, Engineering and Technology, Environmental Sciences, Law, Medicine and Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Science, Social Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine are just some of the disciplines discussed. He disclosed widespread increased worries about the CCMAS documents’ myriad flaws and glaring deficiencies.
Proposed 70:30 ratio does not display discipline in institutions.
Many university administrators, he said, despite being unsatisfied with CCMAS, were reluctant to publicly express their opinions. While the NUC continues to push CCMAS on Nigerian universities, certain university senates have made their opposition clear. According to Prof. Osodeke, the University of Ibadan (UI) Senate discussed this issue at length during a special meeting on June 16th, 2023, and concluded that the proposed 70:30 split does not allow for the display of discipline in institutions. Since the UI Senate has taken this decision, it follows that “submissions made by various departments, reflecting the desirable contents to be submitted to the NUC”.