A delegation from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Suleiman Bala Mohammed, penultimate Tuesday visited the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, in his office.
In the delegation was also the former Governor of the State and Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
The aim was to follow up on the letter written to the Commission on the intended collaboration between Nasarawa State University and Lincoln University College, Malaysia, to run Undergraduate and Post-graduate Programmes in Nigeria.
Briefing the Executive Secretary, the Vice-Chancellor, who expressed delight on the warm reception accorded the team, noted that the University had earlier started the process of the collaboration and followed it diligently.
He recounted that before commencement of the collaboration with Lincoln College, Malaysia, the University received a letter from NUC, stating a “Letter of No Objection” to Nasarawa State University, Keffi, to become the host teaching institution of Lincoln University College, Malaysia on its campus in Keffi.
However, that the University received a communication from the Deputy Executive Secretary (DES), Academics, Dr. Noel B. Saliu which informed them that Resource Verification was supposed to be conducted before the “No Objection”, was issued, but that since NUC gave a waiver it was proper to conduct the Resource Verification and which the Vice-Chancellor agreed on.
The Vice-Chancellor further stated that the Deputy Executive Secretary had also written to the University on the cost implication which the University was in the process of the payment before the Vice-Chancellor received a letter that advised him to suspend the collaboration process.
He argued that the status of the collaboration indicated that Lincoln University College would provide some facilities, lecturers and run programmes such as Computer Science, Nursing and Medicine. According to him, these programmes which was in conjunction with Nasarawa State University had been advertised.
Professor Suleiman stated that, already, the University has 69 students in the foundation/remedial class in its Medicine programme.
Responding to the issues, the Executive Secretary advised the University that Medicine (MBBS) was a very controversial one and would not be granted because MBBS was not offered in Nasarawa State University and such collaboration was an exercise in futility.
He also stated that the University started with MBBS, which was the most difficult side of the collaboration, arguing that it was the easiest way of bringing down the collaboration. He rather suggested that the University should start with programmes that the university’s structures could accommodate.
Professor Rasheed used the opportunity to intimate the delegation with the guidelines for approval of part-time programmes in a Nigerian university which stipulated that such University should have earned a full accreditation status in the full-time equivalent.
He also briefed the University team on the way to go on collaboration and the recent Transnational Education (TNE) Policy that NUC began which placed the Commission at the driving force and not the Ministry of Education as insinuated.
He particularly expressed displeasure on the collaboration with Lincoln University College, Malaysia, for medicine Programme when the University had not commenced same in its own campus since 20 years of its existence.
He, therefore, raised the fundamental issues that bothered on the teaching hospital that the students would be trained, lecture delivery, components to be taught in Nigeria and Malaysia and if the study would be domiciled completely in Nigeria as well as the type of degree that would be issued, whether by Malaysia or Nigeria or dual.
The Executive Secretary further said that these were among the reasons NUC insisted on first conducting a comprehensive resource verification exercise in the University, adding that the Commission would also want to visit the Basic Sciences, the Anatomy, Physiology and Bio-Chemistry Laboratories.
He explained that NUC had no issue with the 10 other courses scheduled for collaboration with Lincoln University College, but Medicine programme would not fly.
He admitted that NUC made a mistake by not going through the letter properly from Nasarawa State University on the MBBS Collaboration. He also advised the University to commence Medicine (MBBS) and approval would be given to conduct Resource Verification in few months’ time.
The Deputy Executive Secretary Academics spoke on the Approved Guidelines for Transnational (TNE) Education in Nigeria, noting that the collaboration between NSUK and Lincoln University, Malaysia was suspended because it ran foul regarding such policies.
He also stated that NUC reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and other submitted documents and later observed that Medicine was one of the programmes approved for collaboration with Lincoln University College in error.
He called the Vice-Chancellor to notify him that the NUC needed to conduct Resource Verification on the programmes as the Commission was not informed on the inclusion of MBBS programme in the first instance.
Lending his voice, the DES Administration, Mr. Chris J. Maiyaki, also urged the University Management to stop writing to the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) as the Ministry had no business on the collaboration process between the University and Lincoln University College, Malaysia.
After exhaustive deliberations and suggestion by the Executive Secretary, it was agreed that a monthly report would be made on TNE at NUC meetings; Visiting Professors in Medical field at the Commission would be invited to review the 14-steps in establishment of private universities in Nigeria based on TNE guidelines; while additional step would be added for Medical University.
The NUC Scribe also directed the Directorate of Academic Planning (DAP) to remove the costing aspect on MBBS and re-cost by sticking to the remaining courses for collaboration.
He reiterated that NUC was ready to support NSUK towards expanding its programmes to the Medicine field. As a result, Professor Adamu Yakassai was assigned to visit the University to inspect the requisite facilities for the medicine programme.
He also directed that a formal letter be written to the Federal Ministry of Education informing them on the need not to encroach on the Commission’s mandate.
In the Vice-Chancellor’s entourage were: the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Admin), Professor Sa’adatu Hassan Liman; Director, Academic Planning (DAP), Professor Abdullahi Adamu Suleiman and Director, Physical Planning Unit, Engr. Ahmed U. Liman.
At the meeting were NUC Visiting Professor Adamu Yakasai; Member of NUC Advisory on Skills and Entrepreneurship Development, Mr. Tope Toogun; Deputy Director, Transnational Education (TNE), Mrs Funke Sule and Head, Special Duties, Ms. Ulonna Inyama.