The National Universities Commission (NUC) has revealed its plans to ensure that students become a part of their university’s senate soon. Executive Secretary of the NUC, Abubakar Rasheed disclosed this in an interview with EduCeleb.com on Monday.
Professor Rasheed noted that students were an integral part of their universities since universities would not exist if they had no students.
The NUC management was therefore working towards making students being part of pertinent issues that affect them also across the faculty and departmental levels. This step, he said was in line with global best practices.
In his words, “Universities are about students. If there is no student, there would be no university. If there is no university, there would be no NUC.
“We are trying to see how we can empower students to participate in decision making in the university. If you go abroad, there are students in the senate.
“How can we bring some students into universities’ senate? It is important so that when the senate is discussing issues pertaining to students, they would be there so that they are going to be heard. How can students be in the Faculty Boards? How can they be in departmental boards?”
The ex-Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano added that measures were in place to make Nigerian universities foster national unity through their composition of staff and students.
“Nigerian universities are always compared with universities outside the country. We are reminded that no Nigerian university is in the top 500. But if you look at the criteria for ranking universities in the world, one criterion is in the percentage of foreign students and lecturers in your institutions.
“But here in Nigeria, our first problem is not the talk of foreign students but how do we become national universities. How can all Nigerians be congregating in all campuses everybody, every religion and people who have no religion should be able to move freely to study, learn, interact, and interrelate.
He also decried situations where negative tendencies symbolic of division exist around university communities.
“If the communities around universities are exhibiting those negative tendencies, how can we we blame the larger Nigerian society? I think we should set the example from the universities,” he added.
EduCeleb.com recalls that the NUC had in November, 2017 set up a committee to revitalise university education in Nigeria. The committee headed by a former Executive Secretary of the NUC, Professor Peter Okebukola is expected to develop a blueprint for the operations in the university.
Rasheed said this blueprint would deliver Nigeria from the shackles impunity at no cost given the right attitude.
“Many of the items in the blueprint will not require money. It is a question of attitude. Should lecturers be allowed to be skipping classes? Why should students congregate in class and lecturers would not come?
“Why should it take months to mark scripts and release results? Why should students graduate and wait for years without getting their certificate? Why should obtaining transcript, which should ordinarily be taken for granted be a big task? When you want to apply at universities abroad, you apply with a transcript. Sometimes it takes months or years. These are issues we are trying to tackle,” he explained.
He also revealed to EduCeleb.com that the NUC would be organising a retreat for Vice Chancellors of Nigerian universities by the end of June, where these and many other issues would be discussed.
“We are doing so many things. Our ultimate goal is to help us create or recreate institutions that respect difference, where everybody whether Nigerian or non-Nigerian. Everyone can feel safe, secured and wanted where they can make impact. We are building a country that prospers, one that helps us realise our dreams. We have to start it,” he added.