A group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law(Intersociety), has urged the National Universities’ Commission (NUC) to lift the blanket suspension of all part-time programmes in universities.
In a statement on Sunday in Onitsha, the group said that lifting the suspension would give many Nigerians access to tertiary education.
The statement was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi and Justus Ijeoma, the Chairman, Board of Trustees and Head of Publicity Desk of the group, respectively.
“To this end, we call on the NUC to, as a matter of urgency, lift the suspension of all part-time programmes in the Nigerian universities.
“The NUC should identify for necessary punitive measures defaulting universities especially, those running academic programmes from kiosks and shanties.”
The statement also urged the commission to re-visit the suspension of the operational licences of seven private universities in the interest of the thousands of students within these universities.
“The 124 universities and 173 colleges of education, polytechnics and monotechnics in Nigeria as presently constituted, are grossly-inadequate for roughly 160 million Nigerian citizens.
” Especially when over 70 per cent of higher education applicants desire university education.
“There is an urgent need for the establishment of more universities, vocational institutions and liberalisation of distant learning, part-time and sandwich programmes’ policies in the Nigerian universities.
“The right to education, including right to university and vocational education, is non-negotiable.
“And should be designed in such a way that a vocational education graduate wishing to access university education and a university graduate wishing to access vocational education are not hindered.
“Also, petty traders, mechanics, okada riders, vulcanizers and public/private clerical office attendants, members of the public and private security agencies wishing to acquire university or tertiary education must be provided with maximum opportunities.
“This is the spirit and letters of Sections 1, 7, 8 and 9 of the Nigeria’s National Policy on Education 1998,’’ it said.
The statement also faulted the commission’s directive to the Senate of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to revert to the use of paper and pen in all exams instead of doing it electronically.
It noted that the computerised and automated system had been used in open universities in Hong Kong, India, China and even in the UK that currently has the highest number of 193,835 students.
It called for the compilation of the compendium of the Nigerian universities’ student population and the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) to be put on the NUC’s website for public access.