ASUU Rejects NUC’s Imposition of Core Curriculum, Raises Alarm for Quality University Education
In a significant development, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has voiced its strong opposition to the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) proposed by the National Universities Commission (NUC). According to ASUU, this move poses a serious threat to the quality of university education and undermines the authority of university Senates in Nigerian universities.In a statement released on Friday and signed by Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the national president of ASUU, the union expressed deep concern over the NUC’s imposition of pre-packaged CCMAS contents, which constitute 70% of the curriculum, on the Nigerian University System. ASUU pointed out that this decision significantly diminishes the role of university Senates, which are responsible for the development of academic programs, as they are left to work with only 30% of the curriculum.The union further highlighted numerous shortcomings and gross inadequacies in the CCMAS documents, emphasizing the need for a thorough and inclusive process in determining academic standards. ASUU acknowledged that the NUC has the authority to set standards and ensure quality in the Nigerian University System, as stated in Section 10(1) of the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act. However, it emphasized that the process of generating these standards is equally important and should involve substantial input from universities themselves.ASUU criticized the NUC for its recent release of CCMAS documents, which encompass 70% of the curricular contents in 17 academic fields, without sufficient consultation with universities. The academic disciplines covered include Administration and Management, Agriculture, Allied Health Sciences, Architecture, Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Computing, Communication and Media Studies, Education, Engineering and Technology, Environmental Sciences, Law, Medicine and Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Science, Sciences, Social Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine.While acknowledging that some university administrators have reservations about the CCMAS, they have refrained from making public comments on the matter. However, certain university Senates have expressed their dissatisfaction with the ongoing attempts by the NUC to impose the CCMAS on Nigerian universities.ASUU strongly denounced the CCMAS as a flawed model of curriculum reengineering that goes against the principles of the Nigerian University System. The union argued that the current CCMAS documents lack both a sound process and substantive content. ASUU firmly believes that the 70% “untouchable CCMAS” cannot withstand critical scrutiny by university Senates.ASUU proposed an alternative approach, suggesting that the NUC should encourage universities, following the example set by the University of Ibadan, to propose innovations for the review of their programs. These proposals should then undergo a rigorous evaluation process by expert teams with the competence to review existing BMAS (Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards) documents or develop new ones, as necessary.By advocating for a bottom-up approach, rather than the top-down or take-it-or-leave-it model of the CCMAS, ASUU aims to ensure that the development of academic standards in Nigerian universities is inclusive, comprehensive, and upholds the principles of academic excellence.