CCMAS: ASUU opposes NUC-designed curricula

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has rejected the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) established by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The union issues a warning that the criteria endanger the caliber of collegiate education and weaken the influence of university senates.

The majority of CCMAS contents are under NUC’s supervision, which ASUU’s national president Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke called a “nightmare” in a statement he released on Friday.

He argued that it was concerning that NUC controlled 70% of the CCMAS while university Senates handled barely 30% of it.

The statement also noted the “numerous shortcomings and gross inadequacies” of the CCMAS materials, suggesting rising concern within the academic community.

“ASUU is not unaware that setting academic standards and guaranteeing quality in the NUS is within the remit of the NUC,” the statement reads. The Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act, Cap. E3, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004, mandates that the NUC establish the minimum requirements for all universities and other institutions that grant degrees in the Federation and oversee the accreditation of those institutions’ degrees and other academic awards.

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However, the method used to create the standard matters just as much—if not more—than the final product, the “minimum requirements.

“In this case, the NUC has just produced CCMAS documents that contain 70% of the curriculum in 17 academic categories through unclear procedures with little to no participation from the universities. The academic fields covered are (i) administration and management (ii) agriculture (iii) allied health sciences (iv) architecture (v) arts (v) basic medical sciences (vi) computing (vii) communication and media studies (viii) (ix) education (x) engineering and technology (xi) environmental sciences (xii) law (xiii) (xiv) pharmaceutical science (xv) sciences (xvi) social sciences, and xvii) veterinary medicine.

It emphasized that despite their dissatisfaction, many university administrators were holding back on publicly criticizing CCMAS.

However, the statement showed that certain university Senates were open about their discontent with the NUC’s continuous attempts to impose CCMAS on Nigerian universities.

“The CCMAS is a nightmare model of curriculum reengineering,” it continued. The Nigerian university system has a deviation because of it. Both in terms of method and content, the CCMAS documents have issues. The 70% “untouchable CCMAS,” which cannot withstand the test of critical examination by university Senates, has no validity.

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However, it was recommended that “NUC should support institutions in their efforts to propose innovations for the review of their programs, as is already being done by the University of Ibadan. Then, more knowledgeable expert teams should filter and synthesize proposals from other institutions in order to analyze the current BMAS papers or create new ones as appropriate.

“The difference here is the bottom-up approach, unlike the top-bottom or take-it-or-leave-it model of the CCMAS.”

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