By; IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja
The House of Representative on Tuesday directed its Committee on Tertiary Education to investigate the Federal Government’s directive to remove non-agricultural related courses from curriculum of the Federal Universities of Agriculture.
Moving a motion on the matter, Hon. Sam Onuigbo noted that there was need for Ministries of Education and Agriculture and Rural Development to stop implementation of the directive, until stakeholders take a deeper assessment of the issues.
According to him, there already exists a kind of symbiotic relationship between the core agricultural and non-agricultural courses, with each programme complementing the delivery of the academic curriculum of the other.
“The world has given rise to the necessity to focus on combining both technological and management skills in agricultural profession to be grounded in science, management techniques and social skills that drive today’s sustainable agricultural economy.
“It is deeply troubling that academic programmes with outstanding records of excellence could be blacklisted for closure simply because they coexisted to enrich agricultural programmes as obtainable globally.
“If the implementation of the directive is not halted, the admission trauma of the youths, especially those within the catchment area of the university will be compounded, given the high number of students seeking admission in the densely populated area.
“This has its deleterious effect on the psyche of the candidates who may as a consequence of idleness, resort to crimes and other anti-social behaviors.
“The NUC Act Section 4 (1) b (iii) states that part of the functions of the Commission shall include “recommendations for the establishment of new academic units in existing universities or the approval or disapproval of proposals to establish such academic units.
“It is important to state that all programmes of the Colleges of Management Sciences (COLMAS) were established based on approvals granted to the universities by the NUC after human and material resources evaluations.
“With these approvals that are verifiable, it should be clearly noted that MOUAU is not running unapproved programmes in COLMAS as all the B.Sc. programmes mounted in the College Management Sciences were resource verified and approved by the NUC,’’ Oniugbo stated
In his contribution, Chairman House Committee on Agriculture, Hon. Mohammed Monguno, condemned the directive to delist non-agric programmes from the curriculum of Federal Universities of Agriculture, adding that management courses were needed to boost the nation’s agricultural sector, particularly as that the country was determined to diversify its economy through placing greater focus on agriculture.
“In recognition of the important role of agriculture in driving economic growth, improved revenue and job creation, there is need to provide foundational courses to drive core agricultural programmes,’’ he added.
Also, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas said the probe was crucial in ensuring that students were not denied the opportunity to enroll in the management science courses in the forth coming matriculation examination pending the resolution of the matter.
“Given the fact that many Nigerians are eager to apply for admission into the universities, they should not be denied or restricted to a particular university”, he said.
Opposing the motion, Hon, Sani Abdul however argued that “you cant have management courses in the universities of agriculture because the universities were specifically established for agricultural studies. Today they have been turned to general universities and that is why NUC wants to sanitise them”.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara while ruling on the matter urged the Committee to report back its findings within two weeks for further legislative action.