FG appoints Jega, Okebukola, others to review Nigeria’s varsity system

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The Federal Government has named a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, and former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, among members of a committee appointed to review the university system in Nigeria.

The NUC also stated that it has not rated tertiary institutions in the country for “many years,” dismissing a recent rating allegedly by the commission as fake.

The Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, made this known in an interview with journalists in Abuja on Monday after he appeared before the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to defend the 2018 budget proposed by the commission.

He said, “The NUC has constituted a high-powered committee of very credible senior academics. Most of the members of this small committee are former vice chancellors, former executive secretaries of the NUC and some had held positions like pro-chancellor, chairman of INEC and minister of education. We have given them a six-term reference to help us with repositioning Nigeria’s university system.

“One of the areas we want them to look at is the issue of post-graduate training and how to reform the training and produce good quality PhDs. How do we get to see that serious post-graduate students complete their studies within the normal period of three years? It could be less or more than three years but three years is the normal period across the world.

“This committee has started working and it is under the chairmanship of Prof. Peter Okebukola, former Executive Secretary of NUC; with Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Vice-Chancellor and former Chairman of INEC, among others, as members. In the next six weeks, we should receive the first report which, among other things, will help us to advise the NUC on the best way to carry out our proposed curricular review in the county and to advise us on the ranking of universities.

“We always wake up every morning and see on the social media that the NUC has ranked (universities). The NUC has not ranked any university in several years. We have not done it, but people just sit down to create it.”

Also, while appearing before the Senate committee on Monday, the Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed that the examination body would not remit all the N7.8bn it generated in 2017 into the Federation Account.

Oloyede said that although JAMB projected for N14.691bn as its Internally Generated Revenue for 2018, N7.744bn would be used for overhead costs, while N2.683bn had been earmarked for capital projects.

He pointed out that JAMB was given zero allocation for the overhead and capital components of their 2017 budget.

“If we remove N7.744bn estimated for overhead cost and N2.683bn earmarked for capital project from the projected N14.691bn IGR, the balance surplus will be N4.262bn to be remitted into the Federation Account, as against N7.8bn remitted last year.

“This has to be so because of critical expenditures to be carried out on overhead in terms of maintenance and upgrading of our facilities and information technologies, and in particular the highly needed capital project of procurement of new headquarters that will be on the national fiber optics for easy connection,” Oloyede said.

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