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Delisting of management courses from specialised universities

The refusal of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to reverse the decision delisting management courses from specialised universities despite the condemnation of the decision by the National Assembly and stakeholders in the educational sector is bound to have serious negative consequential impact on the teeming youths seeking university admission, the enabling Acts that established those universities and the host communities.

Firstly, records show that the available spaces for prospective candidates in Nigerian universities are less than 36 per cent of total eligible candidates seeking admission every year.  The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board record reveals that 1.7 million candidates registered for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination as against 1.2 million and 1.3 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively.  With this geometric increase in 2017, the Minister of Education has taken a draconic step to clamp down on specialised universities that have been complementing the inadequate spaces for management students in conventional universities.

The minister should be reminded of Section 2(3) of Decree No 48, 1992 (as amended) of the Act that established the Universities of Agriculture which reads thus: “To develop and offer academic and professional programmes leading to the award of diploma, first degrees, postgraduate research and higher degrees which emphasis on planning, adaptive, technical, maintenance, developmental and productive skills in agricultures, agricultural engineering and allied professional disciplines with the aim of producing socially mature persons with capacity to improve on those disciplines and develop new ones, but also to contribute to scientific transformation of agriculture in Nigeria”.  The minister should note that allied professional disciplines as contained in the Act include management sciences which cannot be divorced from agriculture. Moreover, agriculture cannot be practised successfully without good knowledge of management as recent agricultural policies of the Federal Government has always emphasised that agriculture should be handled as a business which must be successfully undertaken rather than being undertaken as a mere developmental programme.

It is also important to situate that majority of conventional universities such as Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Ilorin, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as well as the University of Ibadan today also having traces of specialised courses in Agriculture, Forestry, Engineering and so on.  They have performed quite well in all these areas with none of the courses having any negative effect on the other.

It may seem logical to conclude that the Minister of Education has taken this step to assist private universities in securing students.  The truth to note is that a majority of candidates seeking admission to federal universities are indigent candidates with poor financial background who cannot meet up with school fees being charged by most of state universities in Nigeria, let alone private universities.  Therefore, sticking to this decision will leave young boys and girls roaming the streets which is very dangerous to our nation as an idle hand is a devil’s readily available workshop.

Furthermore, a lot of investments, both human and material, have gone into the establishment and running of management sciences in most of these specialised universities.  For example, the Central Bank of Nigeria, World Bank, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria and many other professional bodies have invested a lot of money by donating college buildings, econometric laboratories, accounting laboratories, computers, furniture and the likes to many Colleges of Management Sciences of these specialised universities.  Hence, delisting these courses from these universities will be tantamount to a waste of scarce resources and a disincentive to professional bodies that have intervened in insufficient funding of universities by the Federal Government.

To correct the assertion attributed to the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, that “some of these universities will soon begin to produce imams, pastors and footballers”. This is an unfortunate statement coming out from an individual of his calibre.  The minister has to be educated that a university graduate in any field of endeavour is a productive asset capable of generating future economic benefits for the nation. In fact, the minister of sport should devote his time to the development of Nigerian sports which is his portfolio so that he would not have reason(s) to tell Nigerians that “his ministry did not make provision for the winning bonuses of a team because the ministry did not expect the team could win their matches”. In Nigeria, there are many respectable and honourable individuals that read Religious Studies and Physical and Health Education from the universities, this group of people have contributed and are contributing meaningfully to the development of our dear nation.

Lastly, it is important to remind the Federal Government including the Minister of Education that well-meaning people of the states where specialised universities are located advocated and requested Colleges of Management Sciences in these specialised federal universities. For example, it is on record that the people of Ogun State specially requested the incorporation of Management Science programmes into the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.  A majority of the states in Nigeria have conventional universities giving indigenes and other prospective students an unrestricted access to higher education. Hence, delisting management courses from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta will restrict indigenous students from having equal access to higher education in the country. This decision sends a wrong signal to the people of the state about the intention of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to retard the educational progress in the zone.

  • Dr. Jayeola wrote in from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

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