From: Kemi Yesufu and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives committee on Tertiary Education and Services has urged the National Universities Commission (NUC) to reverse the de-listing of managerial and social sciences degree programmes in the Federal Universities of Agriculture.
Chairman of the committee, Aminu Suleiman, said the new policy was introduced without recourse to the act that established the affected universities.
Hon. Suleiman who spoke during a public hearing on the presidential directive to scale down Non-agricultural programs from the curriculum of Federal Universities of Agriculture, stressed that the act establishing the universities clearly states that, allied disciplines to be studied by students of the universities to enhance their knowledge of agriculture as a business.
The House had, on Tuesday, April 4, called for a reversal of the presidential directive to cancel non-agricultural programs in Micheal Okpara University, Umudike and other Federal Universities of Agriculture.
The lawmakers equally urged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to stop action on the delisting of courses in the Management Sciences faculty at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State to enable candidates to continue to enroll in those courses in the forth coming matriculation examinations pending the resolution of the matter.
The House in adopting a motion entitled: “Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Reverse the Presidential Directive to Scale down Non-Agricultural Programs from the Curriculum of Federal Universities of Agriculture, sponsored by Sam Onuigbo, equally directed the Federal Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to halt the implementation of the directive until its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services completes an inquiry on the policy.
The committee was given two weeks to report back to the House for further legislative action.
Suleiman during the session held between his committee, NUC, Vice- Chancellors of the affected agricultural universities, as well as the Director- General of JAMB, Ishaq Olojede, accused the commission of introducing the new policy based on its opinion and not by law.
The lawmaker cited other countries running similar programmes in universities of agriculture and wondered where NUC derived the power to delist the programmes without recourse to the National Assembly.
The Committee chairman then asked the Director-General of JAMB of the possibility of reinstating the delisted courses for candidates of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), but he responded that any attempt to do this would cause confusion in this year’s examination.
He, however, assured the committee of his readiness to accommodate students wishing to read managerial course in the affected universities by conducting a separate exam in October.
Suleiman announced at the meeting that the committee would consult widely on the matter and reconvene on a date he didn’t announce.