The Executive Secretary National Universities Commission, Abuja,  Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed mni, MFR, FNAL hosted the Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Professor B.C. Ozumba and his team following a letter of request to be supported by NUC to run a joint training by the university’s medical students with Galilee International Institute (GIMI), Israel, previous week at Aja Nwachukwu House, NUC, Headquarters Abuja.

In his remarks the Executive Secretary, pointed out that the memorandum of understanding  (MoU) signed by UNN with GIMI was critical and in line with changes being pursued by the current NUC leadership. He said the commission needed to ascertain;

  1. The curriculum to be used by the students for the 2-year period in Israel, considering the commission’s responsibility as a regulatory agency for university education including the approval of Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) for programmes in Nigerian universities;
  2. A copy of the MoU indicating, among others, the corresponding degree awarding institution in Israel;

iii.        Admission procedure

and commencement date of the programme; and

  1. NUC involvement in the monitoring /supervision of the degree-awarding institution in Israel for the purpose of quality benefits and value among other issues.

Professor Rasheed drew the attention of UNN team that GIMI has been a high powered consultancy organization that do not own a university and  therefore could not award degree. The scribe brought out the following salient issues;

  • Considering the above, what kind of training GIMI would give to to Nigerian medical students from UNN?
  • At the end of the training

whose degree the students would take, UNN or Israel?

  • If the students would take UNN degree, by law NUC must be involved and its rules, regulation and procedures must be followed.
  • If the students would take Israel degree, NUC’s jurisdiction may not cover a degree obtained from a foreign country.

Coordinating and supervising universities activity including quality of students,  staff and infrastructures as well as programmes in all NUS.

Professor Rasheed clearly stated that the NUC welcomes new innovations that would launch universities in Nigeria into the global map but issues that had to do with policy and involved Nigerian students through any Nigerian university must be scruntinised and the task rest with the commission.

In response, the Vice-chancellor Professor B.C. Ozumba started by apologizing for not involving the National Universities Commission ab initio, saying that the aim was to open up space for more medical students to access to wider experience and more students to be involved as medical students without compromising standards or requirements at the point of entry. He said GIMI’s involvement was only at the level of transportation, logistics and liaison with hospitals and universities  in Israel, adding that the arrangement would cover those students who could afford and indicated interest at the point of registration.

The Vice-chancellor pointed out that facilities at college of  medicine was upgraded on his assumption to duty, lamenting the 180 students approved for the university. It was on that basis a window was opened to admit another 40 students after signing of the MoU with involvement of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

The arrangement according to him, was that student would  spend the first 4 years at UNN and the last 2 years at Israel to be monitored by a staff of UNN and MDCN. Professor Ozumba stated that the programme and its curriculum was approved by MDCN adding that the admission of students into the programme would be through a special quota approved by MDCN. He informed the meeting that successful candidates would be awarded UNN degree certificates.

The Vice-chancellor reiterate his earlier apology for not involving his regulator and pledged to do the needful in the area of curriculum, mounting of new programmes and ensuring that quality and standard were not compromised.

The provost, college of medicine, Professor E.N. Onwasigwe explained that GIMI’s position at the MoU with Israel was to facilitate the MoU with Israel  credible universities, help with transportation accommodation and other issues to make the students stay a more rewarding experience. He said that MoU was yet to be concluded and that it involved periodic visits by two institutions to monitor the training. The provost indicated that the MoU would cover clearly whether the students could have additional certificate from Israel universities in addition to UNN degree certificate and registration of MDCN.

He also informed the commission that the UNN had signed other MoU with other universities in United Kingdom, United States of America and other Countries. He assured the NUC that the training would be a joint training and no preferential treatment would be given to the students that opted for the Israel training.

There were contributions from members of UNN team and NUC team which resulted in the following critical decisions that;

  1. NUC remained the only agency charged with responsibility of approving a new programme and must be notified on the admission procedure and commencement date of the programme;
  2. Development and approval of BMAS in NUS reside exclusively with NUC.
  3. The framework to assure quality in the provision of universities education in Nigeria, point or cross border education rest with NUC.
  4. UNN was requested to revisit and review the MoU in line with decisions reached, reflecting all the considered contributions made and to revert back to NUC.

The highpoint of the meeting was presentation of a Lion Laptop computer developed by a student of UNN to the Executive Secretary, Professor Rasheed by the Vice-chancellor of UNN, Professor Ozumba.