The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed mni, MFR, has assured that the Commission would continue to encourage and support the establishment of specialised universities and programmes to further enrich the Nigerian University System (NUS), towards moving Nigeria to a knowledge-based economy.
The Executive Secretary said this when the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Maj. Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade and other principal officers of the Academy paid a courtesy visit to the Commission last week Wednesday.
Prof. Rasheed pledged that NUC would be flexible and willing to work closely with specialised universities to understand their needs. He said further that NDA has made the NUS proud by its remarkable feats, especially with the recent introduction of Cyber Security studies among its specialised programmes.
He stated that it was at the instance of NDA that the NUS has developed a Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS), for Cyber security, adding that very soon NDA professors would be invited to contribute to the development of the curriculum.
While explaining the structure of the NUS, Prof. Rasheed noted that apart from being the only Military University in Nigeria, NDA, was also one of the topmost universities, due to its unique and specialised programmes and strict compliance to regulatory requirements for quality and standards.
He said that NDA’s commitment to discipline and dedication had also contributed in making it top the list in producing graduates fully trained in character and learning, which are basic requirements for graduates of the Ivory tower.
He further stated that the Commission was proud to associate with NDA for playing the big brother and significant role in providing some universities with lecturers in certain programmes and supporting the NUS with experts in some critical fields.
He encouraged universities not to be skeptical on being the first to mount certain programmes even if they were globally unique to the NUS and as long as they complied with regulatory requirements. He further reiterated NUC’s commitment towards ensuring best practices in the NUS.
On the issue of mass emigration of Nigerian students to neighbouring Countries seeking for university education, the Executive Secretary pointed out that though access had been a major challenge, the NUS was highly standardised, stressing that most of those who go to those foreign sub standard institutions were students who were desperate to obtain degree certificates by all means not minding the standard, which he warned that it would be at their own risks, as NUS would not compromise on standards.
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Oyebade, disclosed that he was on a familiarisation visit to the Commission following his assumption of duty as the Commandant of the Academy in October, 2017.
He stated that being a Military university, NDA would like to focus more on some core courses such as the newly introduced Cyber Security studies, noting that Cyber war had become a dimensional security threat that more youth needed to be trained in that aspect. He expressed that ‘the future is now’ and therefore, there was the urgent need to include security studies in the NUS in line with global trends.
Maj. Gen. Oyebade further intimated that NDA intended to mount a new programme by updating its department of Logistics and Supply to a degree programme, saying that the Postgraduate school of the Academy was a model worth emulating. On discipline, he reiterated that knowledge was nothing without character and therefore, NDA would not bend the rules or compromise on discipline, as it was part of the training and also basic requirement in the Academy.
The Commandant also assured that NDA would work tirelessly towards the development of the NUS by standing in the gap and providing access to quality university education in Nigeria. He lamented that due to lack of access to university education as a result of limited space in Nigerian Universities, most students were forced to go to neighbouring African countries, thereby boosting their economies, He therefore, called for the continuous establishment of small mono universities that would help remedy the situation, urging NUC to proffer ways of attracting foreign students into the NUS to ensure global competiveness.
He thanked the Commission for its support and guidance to the NDA which he said, had tremendously uplifted the Academy. He then solicited the Commission’s technical and regulatory assistance.
Also in the NDA team were the Provost, Prof. S. Nwankwo, Registrar, Brig. Gen. I. M. Jallo, Director, Academic Planning, Col. S. S. Ibrahim.