Lecturers in Nigeria’s colleges of medicine have challenged the authority of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to require them to hold a PhD in order to teach.
The lecturers who spoke under the auspices of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) had earlier threatened to withdraw their services from teaching medical students at Nigerian Universities over that.
MDCAN averred that the NUC lacked powers to direct Vice-Chancellors on such a major policy decision without recourse to the Honourable Minister of Education or the President in Council.
The NUC, by law, determines all affairs pertaining to university education in Nigeria. It had in recent times mandated that medical doctors teaching in universities also require a PhD in their field as that will also count whenever they were to become professors.
But while speaking in Jos on Tuesday, the National President of MDCAN, Professor Kenneth Ozoilo, said the directive of the NUC was in violation of its advisory role going by its own enabling act adding that it was even more curious given that the circular contradicts the extant Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) which have not been modified to date.
“The decision of the NUC to embark on this policy direction, without due attention to the consequences and implications is, to say the least, embarrassing.
“The duplicity and deceit on the part of the NUC in creating the impression of a consensus among stakeholders are even more shocking.”
“At all points in our previous engagements on this issue, the NUC has been in agreement that the PhD should be a personal, voluntary and optional endeavour for academics, and that its non-possession would not constitute an impediment to career progression. To proceed to put ink on paper to the contrary is disingenuous,” he said.
According to him, it was on the basis of the foregoing that the association rose from the January Emergency NEC meeting with a resolution to write the NUC to withdraw the said circular.
“We duly communicated the NUC but sadly, our demand was ignored. NEC met again two weeks later in Port Harcourt and following extensive deliberations, issued an ultimatum to the NUC to withdraw the said circular or face the withdrawal of our services from the Universities.
“That ultimatum has now lapsed as at midnight of yesterday the 24th of February 2020 without any meaningful effort by the NUC or any other arm of government for that matter, to seek a peaceful resolution.”
“We, however, owe a duty to the medical profession and to the innocent and unsuspecting Nigerian public who will be the ultimate victims and losers if this vile assault is allowed unconfronted. They are the ones who will have no access to healthcare within the country, and no resources to engage in medical tourism when our healthcare system is ultimately crumpled to the ground by such obnoxious policies as this.”
He said the association was left with no further choice than to withdraw its services from the Universities with immediate effect adding that all its members in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory have been directed to withdraw their services in all universities whether state or federal.
However, Ozoilo reassured the general public that MDCAN will continue to render professional services to patients in the various public hospitals for now and called on well-meaning Nigerians and the general public to prevail on the NUC and the government, to see reason and retrace its steps.
EduCeleb.com not immediately get a reaction from the NUC on this development as its spokesperson, Ibrahim Yakasai was yet to respond.