The Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN), led by its President, Professor Benjamin Ubi, last wednesday presented a proposed curriculum for the teaching of Biotechnology in Nigerian universities to the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar A. Rasheed.
The proposed curriculum, which was developed by BSN, integrates elements of engineering as well as agricultural, medical and environmental sciences, among other sciences, to produce a well-rounded graduate.
Presenting the document, Professor Ubi informed the Executive Secretary that the curriculum covered all aspects of Biotechnology, without bias to any particular field. This would ensure the production of an all-round graduate, with an option of specialising in any of the major components, at postgraduate level.
The BSN President commended the Commission’s efforts at ensuring quality in the NUS, through the accreditation process, saying the process would continue to guarantee equity, quality and fairness in administration of university education in Nigeria. He, however, advocated for an inclusion of members of the society on accreditation panels for the Biotechnology programme in Nigerian universities.
Welcoming the delegation, the Executive Secretary disclosed that the Commission was in the process of reviewing curricula in the Nigerian University System (NUS) which would incorporate inputs from all universities and other stakeholders.
He noted that biotechnology was a by-product of the biological sciences and recalled that NUC was far ahead of the BSN as it had, in the recent past, consulted renowned Biotechnologists, such as late Professors Andrew Nok and Muyideen, with a view to reviewing the existing curriculum on Biotechnology.
He noted that Professor Muyideen had recommended an integration of critical components of science into the curriculum, considering the fact that Biotechnology had been an interdisciplinary subject.
Professor Rasheed informed the Society that it was impractical for the Commission to engage only members of professional bodies for the accreditation of academic programmes in the NUS and assured BSN of NUC’s commitment in deploying only competent persons to do accreditation.
He however, requested the Society to compile a list of credible Professors from BSN, indicating their universities, year of promotion, as well as areas of specialisation and forward same to the NUC, for inclusion in the Commission’s database.
The Executive Secretary commended BSN for the development of the curriculum, adding that, for objectivity, the document would be subjected to further review by a group of independent professionals, prior to adoption by the NUS.
Earlier in his remarks, immediate past President of the Society, Professor M. B. Yerima, commended the Executive Secretary’s efforts at establishing the Institute of Biotechnology at Bayero University, Kano (BUK) while he was its Vice-Chancellor. He noted the need for Nigerian universities to embrace Biotechnology, because of its potential to address a myriad of health challenges facing the nation.
Other members of the BSN delegation were the Vice-President, Dr. Andrew Iloh; Public Relations Officer, Dr. J. C. Igwe; Treasurer, Mrs. H. O. Yusuf and the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Ebinyi State, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe.