The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Adamu Rasheed has called for the harmonisation of curriculum, contents and duration of course year in higher education among African countries.
Professor Rasheed made the call in Abuja at the 11th International Conference and Workshop on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa (ICQAHEA).
The Executive secretary said that since academic mobility was on the increase, with the population increasing since 2002, there was need to focus on harmonising the principle to allow for quality.
“Harmonisation in higher education is not uniformity; the principle can be maintained in the phase of ensuring the educational deliverables of the continent are achieved.
“Our focus in NUC is not on uniformity but on benchmark/harmonisation. Part of the harmonisation is to harmonise the duration, curriculum and contents of our higher education…Some of our sister countries allow degree programme that run for a year or two years. It will be impossible for graduates of such universities to come to Nigeria to do his or her National Youth Service Corps scheme,” Profeasor Adamu said.
He stated; “It is also worrisome seeing some advertorials on the pages of newspapers advertising for candidates to get a PhD (doctorate degree) in less than a year. We will not allow this.
“This, therefore, underscores the necessity of African countries coming together to harmonise, for quality assurance.”
Professor Adamu further called for the prioritisation of the establishment of an English Language Centre for students from non-English speaking countries to enable them learn the language, saying this would guide against communication barrier.
According to him, “the establishment of the centre would foster harmony in the continent.”
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said that the importance of quality assurance could not be overemphasised and this had necessitated the increase in access by the Nigerian Government.
This, he said, “has led to the establishment of more universities in the country.”
Mr Nwajuiba said that in view of the pivotal roles of education and institutions, the Nigerian Government would not go below the required standard.
The Chairman of NUC Governing Board, Professor Ayo Banjo said that stakeholders must begin to think of the quality of the students of higher institutions along with the quality of infrastructure, equipment and teachers.
He said that if this was critically looked into, a lot of the educational challenges in the African continent would be eliminated.
Professor Banjo stressed that most African countries rely on strategies from other jurisdictions to make right the higher education and research space in the continent.
He mentioned that these strategies had resulted in the establishment of bodies like the Association of African Universities, the International Network for Higher Education in Africa, the Global Universities Network for Africa and Africa Quality Assurance Networks.
The theme of the conference was “Towards Sustainability of the Continental Harmonisation Agenda of Higher Education in Africa.”