The temporary suspension of part-time programs in all Nigerian universities, not the best solution.

Filed under: National Issues |

Nigeria has over one hundred state, federal and private universities accredited by the Nigerian University Commission(NUC). Each year these universities turnout a very large number of graduates across the nation, getting them prepared for the controversial and unmonitored National Youth Service program. Research has shown that the markup of these graduates are not entirely from regular full-time students, but also part-time students.

It is not a mistake that university curriculum has a stage set aside for such category of students whom, come from different class of sociality and inference. Part-time programs are recognized anywhere in the world due to the obvious reasons that people have to work in order to support their education and advance their qualification. They are not there for a capricious summer breeze. The government should not base their “claimed” production of half-baked graduates on the surface of part-time studies. They should rather be concerned with the optimal goal of making sure that the provided education is of world standard.

There is a guideline put in place by the NUC to govern the operation of part-time programs by any Nigerian university. The role of government therefore should be whether or not this set guidelines are adhered to and if not, which institution(s) are culpable, not deleting the entire program. If they are so interested in deleting a mass accumulated program, the NYSC is a good program to start with.

There are lots of universities out there that are not capable of handling regular students due to shortage of staff, poor and insufficient academic facilities etc let alone see to the management of part-time programs. The government should see as to why these institution(s) are not meeting up and if after proper consultations and investigation, they are unfit, then the part-time load is taking off there shoulders.

Every now and then universities and university lecturers cry out on the dilapidating state of the nations educational system, on the paltry salary lecturers receives, on the overly due and outstanding agreement by the federal government, many resulting in long strike by ASUU, what has the federal government done in respect to that, nothing. The true strength of any nation comes not just from her youths but from the number of properly educated youths.

Our tertiary institutions are suffering from chronic neglect. In some universities for instance, you have about 18,000 full-time students and 81,000 part-time students, you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that the other group are just romancing education. The number of part-timers out-numbering the full-timers call to mind the legendary song of Fuji Pop Star, Fela Anikulapo Kuti “49 sitting, 99 standing”. Who will the government blame, the institutions or themselves?

The thing is, part-time program has been running in Nigeria for a very long time, even with the problems of inadequate funding, challenges of poor facilities, academic overload etc., why is NUC just waking up and slamming their suspension hammer rather than finding a lasting solution to the problem? Because obviously, suspension will not make everything to be alright.

In as much as I disagree with the sudden suspension, it is clear that there is a serious abuse of the part-time program. The university governing body will have to take stock of the activities going on presently and in the past, check them against some key performance indicators like; lecturers to students ratio, and come up with a better board to work on.

The fact remains that our educational system needs urgent attention, tackling just a part of the problem makes no difference. A total overhauling of our educational system will be the answer to rediscovery of lost priority.

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