The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius A. Okojie, OON, has disclosed that the Commission was in the process of introducing specialised certification courses in the NUS where, he said, for instance, an Accounting or a Law student would not have to wait till the end of his or her programme before attempting a professional course, stressing that this would equip them better.
The Executive Secretary stated this on Tuesday, 13 January, 2015, when a delegation from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, paid him a courtesy call in the Commission.
The NUC Scribe said that there had always been emphasis on degree programmes and that the need to strengthen, manage and improve the existing system was a target that must be achieved by all institutions. He added that graduates should be encouraged to seek another degree in addition to their first degree, as this would give them more opportunities and exposure.
Professor Okojie told the delegation that the Federal Government had introduced the Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) to train First Class graduates in specialised fields in the top 25 universities in the world to study and at the end, return to Nigeria to re-invest their knowledge and exposure in the development of the nation.
Professor Okojie highlighted some of the challenges that confronted the Nigerian University System (NUS) to include: low capacity building, lack of innovation and development, decadence in infrastructure, amongst others. According to him, there was the need to build institutions that would guide the system, expressing the hope that innovations and discoveries would help move the university system forward. The NUC Scribe noted further that, no matter how good a university plan and structure were, if such institution had a poor governance structure and undue interference from individuals outside the governing structure, this would always affect the performance of the university administration.
The SAIS delegation informed the Executive Secretary that they were in Nigeria to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) to run executive education programmes and later, certificate programmes in the country. According to the Leader of the delegation and Associate Dean at SAIS, Dr. Melisa Trotta, these proposed programmes would help strengthen teaching and learning in Nigeria.