The National Universities Commission (NUC) has urged the Deans of Faculties of Veterinary Medicine in Nigeria to embrace competency-based veterinary education to enhance the prospects of veterinarians.
NUC Deputy Executive Secretary, Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, made the call on Friday at the Annual Leaders’ Summit of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association in Abuja.
The theme of the summit is “The Future of Veterinary Education in Nigeria”.
Ramon-Yusuf frowned at the theoretical-based education of veterinary medicine and other categories of human capacity in some institutions across the country.
He, however, urged deans of those faculties to ensure a paradigm shift from theoretical education and focus more on competency-based training to enable the professionals to compete in the global economy.
He said that there was need for a serious shift in mindset and knowledge, describing universities as knowledge-generating institutions.
He called on deans, lecturers and teachers to do everything targeted at the competency that people could demonstrate.
According to him, universities are expected to be hubs of innovation, factories of ideas and useful products but to arrogate to universities the sole ownership of knowledge, including research knowledge, is a fallacy in today’s world.
“In the 21st Century skills, the concept use is critical thinking and critical analysis.
“But Nigeria will not benefit much from preparing the future veterinarians or indeed any categories of human capital of all the sectors if the educators, the professors and the teachers do not embrace a shift.
“So, we need to have an open mind about the ubiquity of knowledge, the ubiquity of ideas and the existential requirements for collaboration.
“For too long, the academia in Nigeria has been operating with one hand; that is why we have knowledge with big gaps.
“Epistemology is to every student but beyond that we must know the point that those principles, those theoretical parts, must have meaningful practical education.
“To be able to cope with competition of globalisation, rapid advances in science and technology, there is no way we can overemphasise the need to put in place enabling policies and practices to build meaningful human capacity,” he said.
Ramon-Yusuf identified critical thinking and analysis as key concepts in 21st century skills.
He, however, noted that Nigeria would not benefit much from preparing future veterinarians or any categories of human capacity of all the sector if the educators, failed to embrace a paradigm shift from theoretical education to critical thinking and analysis.
According to him, the way forward in 21st century skills is that strategies and approaches are required by academics and universities in order to create opportunities and environments conducive for the acquisition of much needed skills.
“Such skills include critical analysis, problem solving skills like team work and empathy and pedagogical skills.
“Basically the issue of competency base focuses more on practical skills than theory. It has to do with the ability of the veterinarian to demonstrate what he claims he has acquired.
“For example if you have a decree in veterinary medicine, what and what can you do?
“So it is more on the ability to demonstrate competencies than just learning theory.
“So, in the training, you are telling people yes you need to know theory but this is how to apply that practically, which is the difference between the competency base curriculum than content base curriculum where people just learn all the content.
“The issue of any curriculum involves many stakeholders especially the educators themselves the deans, lecturers, the NUC, Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN) and even those in practice.
“So, the way forward for future of veterinary profession is that all stakeholders must work together,” he said.