The Federal Government has introduced a new curriculum for university education in the country to “reflect 21st-century realities”.
At the unveiling of the new curriculum on Monday in Abuja, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said the development was part of an effort to make university education more responsive to the needs of society.
Professor Osinbajo, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the introduction of the “Core Curriculum and Minimum Standard to university education” also addresses local issues, meet international standards and “uplifts scholarship in our universities”.
He commended the National Universities Commission (NUC) for the unbundling of such disciplines as Agriculture and the emergence of three courses, namely, Allied Health Sciences, Architecture and Communication as well as the media services, the three new courses in Nigerian Universities.
“This document has truly taken cognisance of the need to provide greater academic autonomy to universities with regard to the development of some percentage of course content,” he said.
“I commend the commission of this decision to share the minimum credit unit required for graduation in the Nigerian university in the ratio of 70 to 30 percent. This will further create institutional peculiarity.”
Professor Osinbajo also applauded the foresight of other disciplines, like agriculture and the emergence of three new disciplines in the Nigerian university system, such as allied health sciences, architecture and communication as well as media studies.
The Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed said in keeping with its mandate of making university education in Nigeria more responsive to the needs of society, NUC commenced the journey to restructure the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) in 2018, introducing in its place the Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS), to re-examine existing and introduce new disciplines and programmes in the Nigerian University System.
He said the new CCMAS is a product of sustained stakeholder interactions over two years.
“The composition of each panel took into consideration the triple helix model, as a unique feature,” he explained.
“This involved a blend of academic experts, academies, the government represented by NUC, professional bodies and of course, the private sector, represented by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
“In order to enrich the draft documents, copies of each discipline were forwarded to all critical stakeholders including the relevant academic units in Nigerian Universities, the private sector, professional bodies and the academies for their input.
“These inputs, along with the curriculum of programmes obtained from some foreign and renowned universities, served as major working materials for the various panels constituted for that purpose.”
According to professor Rasheed, “The new curriculum unbundled the Bachelor of Agriculture, Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication and the Bachelor of Architecture Programmed while establishing some emerging specialisations in these fields as obtained globally.
“The Allied Health Sciences was also carved out as a new discipline from the existing Basic Medical Sciences discipline.”
Professor Rasheed explained that the CCMAS documents are uniquely structured to provide for 70% of core courses for each programme while allowing universities to utilise the remaining 30% for other innovative courses in their particular areas of focus.
Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor