The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Rasheed has expressed concerns about the quality of programmes run by affiliate institutions. He insisted that for effective delivery of quality university education, there must be synergy between parent universities and their affiliated institutions.
He made the remarks at an interactive meeting with vice-chancellors of parent universities and provost/rectors as well as directors of affiliate institutions in the Nigerian University System (NUS) at the commission’s secretariat, Abuja.
Represented by Director, Finance and Accounts, Mr Sam Onazi, the executive secretary said since 1983 with the affiliation of College of Education, Kano, to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, the commission has been fostering affiliations in the NUS as an important strategy towards expanding access to university education.
He said despite the growing number of affiliate institutions, questions have been raised by stakeholders on the quality of degree programmes run by the institutions due to lack of supervision or poor supervision.
He said some observed the inadequate supervision of the affiliate institutions by their parent universities, whose degree programmes the affiliate institutions are offering and each year, churn out a large percentage of graduates who carry the degree certificates of their parent universities:
“It is against this background that NUC in ensuring the quality of degree programmes in affiliate institutions in Nigeria and in line with best practices, conducted a system-wide monitoring and inspection visit to 104 affiliate institutions with the intent to determining the level of supervision of the affiliate institutions by their parent universities.”
He reported that as part of efforts towards expanding access to university education, the commission conducted a survey of all affiliate institutions in 2008. At the end of the exercise, 53 institutions granted approval for affiliations were identified and in order to effectively assess the requests for approval from institutions, the commission in 2009, developed a set of guidelines on affiliations.
He added that from 2008 to January 2019, the NUC granted approval to 112 affiliate institutions. These included 60 colleges of education, 52 faith-based institutions, polytechnics and monotechnics.
He said in furtherance to the commitment towards enhancing quality in affiliate programmes, in 2018/2019 academic session, the commission conducted another inspection and monitoring exercise. The first phase, which was conducted for three weeks from June 24 to July 15, 2018, a total of 82 affiliate institutions were visited. In June 2019, 22 approved affiliate institutions that were inadvertently omitted during the 2018 exercise were visited in order to have a comprehensive report on affiliations in the NUS, thereby, making it a total of 104 approved affiliate institutions visited.
On the outcome of the meeting, Rasheed said: “It is worthy that due to numerous deficiencies identified in the course of the exercise which border on compliance with NUC guidelines on affiliation, the commission deemed it fit to organise a stakeholders’ interactive meeting on the supervisory role of parent universities of affiliated institutions, in order to draw attention of parent universities and their affiliated institutions on the identified deficiencies and findings of the exercise.”
The executive secretary expressed optimism that the forum would provide a seamless opportunity for participants to rub minds on those issues that needed to be addressed for the purpose of finding lasting solutions.
Acting Director, Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs Agnes Bamgbala, said the forum was an opportunity for both parent universities and their affiliated institutions to interact and proffer ways of strengthening relationships towards the development of university education.
She said the commission would continue to support affiliations in the university system and professionally guide towards ensuring that quality programmes were run in affiliate institutions as obtainable in parent universities.
She expressed optimism that the forum would contribute to creating strong synergy and beneficial to the participants as they got sensitised on rudiments of affiliation.
Presenting the NUC criteria and guidelines on affiliation, Director, Academic Planning, Dr Noel Saliu, represented by Deputy Director, Affiliate Division of the Directorate, Mr Samuel Adejoh, informed participants that any university intending to affiliate with any non-degree awarding tertiary institution must satisfy some conditions regarding the affiliation.
He pointed out that first and foremost the university must have been in existence for 15 years and could only affiliate with not more than five institutions either federal, state or private, adding that students’ enrolment in the programmes in which affiliation was being sought in the parent university must not be more than the approved carrying capacity. He said that the host or parent university must also have the undergraduate equivalent of the programme for affiliation, which must have obtained full accreditation status.
He also said for any non-degree awarding institution intending to affiliate with a university, it must have been in existence for at least 20 years and had produced three sets of graduates for at least 15 years. The institution must also have an adequate number of academic and non-academic staff by qualification rank and mix in line with NUC guidelines.
The student population in the programmes of the affiliated institution must not be more than 20 per cent of the total student population in the institution. The TSR must be in accordance with the approved NUC Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) in the relevant programmes.
Admission requirements into programmes of the affiliate institution must be the same with the minimum requirements for the same programme in the parent university and programmes run under affiliation must be subject to NUC accreditation assessment. He also stated that the requirements for graduation for both full and part-time students must be the same as those of the parent university.
He pointed out that all candidates seeking admission must meet admissions requirements specified by the host university for entry into its equivalent undergraduate programme and admissions must be conducted by the parent university. All admissions must be through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and all admitted students must bear the matriculation number of the parent university and admissions are restricted to undergraduate programmes only and Sandwich programmes are not allowed for affiliate programmes. All records of students must be kept both in the host university and the affiliated institution.
He emphasised that it is the responsibility of the host university to moderate all examinations to be taken by the students of the affiliated institutions and external moderations of examinations of affiliate institutions should be carried out by qualified university academics other than those from the host university but coordinated by it.
All students admitted into affiliate institutions should be certificated by the parent university and their records and transcript could only be issued by the university. He said that it was the responsibility of the host university to present graduates of the graduate institution for participation into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The workshop also featured discussions on the proposed review of NUC criteria and guidelines on affiliation moderated by the Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), Dr Gidado Bello Kumo and presentation of a report on the monitoring of supervisory roles of parent universities on their affiliate institutions by Bamgbala.