Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, have reacted with a mixture of surprises to the National Universities Commission recent suspension of accreditation for six of the courses offered in the institution.
The NUC, according to a report by The Cable, had suspended the university’s Law, Dentistry, Botany, Fine and Applied Arts, Family Nutrition and Consumer Science programmes.
Initially, Medical Rehabilitation was listed among the courses, but investigation showed that it was not really affected by the commission’s decision.
Some of the students of the institution whose courses were affected by the development, in separate telephone interviews with our correspondent, said they thought the suspension was just a “joke” from the NUC. One of them, a 300 level law student, Badrudeen Olawale, wondered how the commission arrived at the decision not to accredit OAU’s law for the 2018/2019 academic session.
He said, “The suspension has been a big surprise to us. Many of us still find it difficult to believe that the NUC could do this to Obafemi Awolowo University. I can tell you that the Faculty of Law here is one of the best in the country in terms of structure, facilities and academic prowess. What else does the commission want the faculty to provide?
“I think those behind the decision are sentimental. If not, how can they suspend accreditation for law when it is clear that a candidate for the UTME has to score a minimum of 281 to qualify to study law at OAU? In my opinion, I think there is something fishy about this whole business.”
Also reacting to the development, a 400 level student of Botany, Damilola Gboyega, said the news came as a surprise to many of his colleagues. He said, “We are not happy about it. It is sad that this should happen to Botany. I can tell you that OAU Botany department is sufficiently equipped to run the course. “We have a modern herbarium, a functional library and enough lecture theatres, among other facilities necessary for the teaching and learning of botany. So why suspend accreditation for the course? It is possible that there is a mix-up somewhere.”
Olawale’s colleague in the law faculty and President of the university’s Law Students Society, Daniel Adedigba, said the suspension of accreditation would affect only the successful UTME candidates seeking admission to study law at OAU. “It is not as if the Faculty of Law has lost the existing accreditation; it is just that those who have been admitted to the university will not be allowed to study law until the issue is resolved, “he added.
However, the management of the university, in a statement released on Monday and made available to our correspondent, said it was aware of a directive issued by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board to candidates, who applied to study the six suspended courses, asking them to either change course or university of choice due to the NUC’s action.
The university authorities also disclosed that the accreditation exercise was conducted across all the universities nationwide in December, 2017 and that the non-accreditation of some programmes, which cut across all universities, was not peculiar to OAU.
The statement partly read, “There are 106 programmes in the university, of which the six mentioned above have issues with accreditation. Although these programmes actually had interim status during the last exercise, they were denied accreditation because of the existing NUC regulation that does not allow back-to-back interim status.
“The university management is working assiduously to address the issues raised by the NUC. It, therefore, has no doubt that the affected programmes will be restored hopefully in the forthcoming accreditation exercise slated for November, 2018. We hereby use this medium to officially appreciate the Tertiary Education Trust Fund for the prompt release of funds to upgrade the existing structures and facilities in the university.
“We appreciate the concern of all stakeholders, particularly parents/guardians and prospective students, on this development and plead for their understanding.
The management will continue to do all within its power to uphold and build upon the academic excellence for which the University is known.”