Higher institutions abandon mandates for revenue –Don

Higher institutions have been accused of operating outside the laws establishing them. The dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, (NSUK), Professor Nasiru M. Idris, made the assertion in Abuja shortly after the public presentation of a book on ‘Sustainable Solid Waste Management; A Comparative Assessment and an Integrative Approach’, written by Dr Adati Ayuba Kadafa of the Department of Environmental Management, NSUK.

Professor Idris, who was the reviewer of the book, called on academics to carry out meaningful research that would contribute to knowledge development and policy formulation.

Speaking on the roles of some tertiary institutions, he said most institutions were deviating from their core mandate, vision, and mission as well as set objectives approved by their regulatory bodies “either to generate revenue or go into unnecessary competition.” While agreeing that the primary purpose of establishing universities, polytechnics and colleges of education was to offer degrees, diplomas and certificates, he said, “what we are seeing across all these three institutions is purely deviation in some quarters.

“For instance, some polytechnics and colleges of education are signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with universities for the purpose of awarding degree programmes similar to what the universities are offering. MoUs are supposed to be based on peculiarities – if that course is not being run in the university.”

In certain cases, he said needed facilities, staffing and funding were lacking in most institutions and called on the Federal Ministry of Education to, in conjunction with the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education and National Board for Technical Education, work out the modalities of improving the higher educational system by ensuring that institutions were not departing from their mandates.

“If these tertiary institutions will stick to their core mandates and provide what is expected of them to deliver, they will go a long way in providing quality education. But by allowing a crisscross of courses and certificates to be awarded at will, the pressure will make those institutions to go astray.”

Professor Idris also noted that universities have stopped running around and awarding diplomas due to the continuous supervision by NUC. Also, specialised universities that were only approved for the purpose of awarding degrees in certain fields were recently directed by the NUC to stop running degree programmes outside their mandate, he said.

Also speaking, chairman of the event, Ambassador S. T. Dogonyaro, said the book would contribute in addressing environmental challenges, especially in the FCT, adding that academic research which was a fundamental responsibility of academics would guarantee social development.