Expert tasks FG on specialised learning institutions
President and Chief Executive Officer, Postgraduate School of Credit and Financial Management, Prof Chris Onalo has disclosed that a continuous academic and professional development is imperative to reaching the top. He noted that degree qualifications alone are not strong enough to make an average Nigerian graduate competitively at par with their counterparts in other climes.
“Employers of labour all over the world today have moved to insisting that all their employees must acquire post-university professional qualification so that they are current with learning and development. Any employee who lacks this retards his or her promotion in the organisation where he or she is working.
“When people pride themselves as “professionals”, they are simply saying that they have qualifications which are a combination of academic and professional attestations actually fast-tracking their career progressions. This is so because academic and professional qualifications tied together are not just about getting a job/career in any sector.
Prof Onalo noted that there is need for an urgent integration into the mainstream of tertiary institutions in Nigeria to ensure that their programmes and certification practices are acceptable.He added that giving institutional and programmatic accreditation to post-university specialist Institutions would help such institutions determine if they are meeting or exceeding minimum standards of quality.
“In Nigeria, we have a system which allows the National University Commission (NUC) as well as National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) solely responsible for these two important activities in our tertiary education sector. However and unfortunately too, the operational coverage of the NUC and NBTE has excluded other non-university, non-polytechnic tertiary institutions rightly known as “post-university specialised independent Institutions” whose specialist cum professional skill development programmes target people who themselves are graduates, having graduated from universities or polytechnic long ago and are working or have worked at officer, supervisory, managerial and directorate levels in their places of work.”
The expert noted that introduction of institutional and programmatic accreditation for these institutions offering specific professional academic programmes would compel them to clearly define their objectives and involve the assessment agencies in the rating of their performance.
To achieve the desired result, Onalo advocated a restructuring of the evaluation and accreditation department of the Federal Ministry of Education to take on the responsibility of providing institutional and programmatic accreditation services to the specialised institutions and their programmes in the country.
“The evaluation and accreditation department of the education ministry shall in this case provide sector-led oversight of those non-university specialised education institutions’ quality assessment arrangements. Such oversight functions should articulate fundamental principles that should apply to this sub sector irrespective of any changing national contexts. These include principles such as emphasising the role of providers in assuring the quality of the experience they offer to students, supporting student engagement, and ensuring external referencing used to measure the integrity of their awards and the quality of provision. The process should ensure that the code will continue to fulfill its role as the cornerstone for quality within this sector of specialised higher education industry, protecting the public and student interest, and championing Nigeria’s reputation for quality and standard in both academic and professional education.