The Federal Government has asked seven federal universities of Agriculture and Technology to stop running Management courses and focus on their core mandate.
The directive was handed down to the authorities of the seven universities by the Ministry of Education after it was approved recently by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Already, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has gone ahead to implement the federal government’s decision as it delisted the management courses of the affected universities in its current admission brochure.
JAMB’s spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, confirmed that the Board delisted the management courses of the affected universities on the orders of the federal government.
According to him, the decision to delist the programmes was not taken by the Board as being suggested by the some staff and students of the universities affected adding, “It was a ministerial decision based on FEC meeting and as an agency of government, we are to implement government decisions. So, in the concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the concerned institutions did not field candidates.”
It was learnt that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the House Committee on Tertiary Education queried the directive and are planning to seek audience with top government officials on the new policy.
The ASUU FUNAAB chairman, Dr. Adebayo Oni, said the national body of the union was aware of the government decision but noted that it was done without proper consultation with affected universities and stakeholders.
His words: “FUNAAB branch took the issue to our zonal branch meeting which reported same at the national level. The delisting of the programme was done in haste and it is illegal by JAMB. The courses were accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and relevant bodies. University vice-chancellors were not carried along.”
The seven institutions affected by the government directive are Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Modibbo Adamawa Federal University of Technology, Yola (MAUTY), Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUTMINNA), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) and University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAW).
The decision to bar and delist the seven universities from admitting students is generating ripples amongst academic staff who fear for their jobs since the management courses have been scrapped.
Particularly worrisome to the lecturers are the huge investments made to establish the various colleges of Management Science by the seven universities including facilities, structure and the current students.
Investigations revealed that one of the universities started the construction of College of Medicine but the over N3billion new programme has been stalled because of the government’s decision which prompted academic staff of the institution to stage a protest against the directive.
At FUNAAB, the College of Management Science (COLMAS) was built and equipped by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with state-of-the-art-facilities. The lecturers, like their counterparts are in dilemma over the decision to scrap management science courses.
A concerned lecturer told Sunday Sun that because of the government’s order, many students did not pick FUNAAB thus denying it of millions of naira in revenue. He added: “Our fate after the decision now hangs in the balance. Some lecturers are leaving to other institutions.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof Ololade Enikuomehin, said that the decision was taken by the government and JAMB had started the implementation.
Enikuomehin disclosed that moves were on to resolve the issue stating, “FUNAAB has complied with the directive. In the current admission exercise, COLMAS was not listed by JAMB. FUNAAB and other universities are working round the clock to get the issue resolved politically.’’
Also, confirming the federal government’s decision, the Vice-Chancellor of FUTMINNA, Prof Musbau Akanji, in a text message said: ‘“Yes, some programmes were delisted from our university with the understanding they are management programmes. As the University of Technology, we are not supposed to do so.
‘’However, attempts are ongoing to convince government that we at FUTMINNA are not offering management programmes with a view to making them restore those few programmes against 2018/2019 session.”
Image makers of UAM and MOUAU denied JAMB delisted management programmes of the universities but staff and students told Sunday Sun reporter that both institutions were stopped from admitting students.
The Dean of Students Affairs of FUTA, Prof Kayode Alese, said stakeholders were making efforts to get the delisted management programmes is restored.