The Nigerian government has accused African countries, especially Ghana, Togo and Cameroon, of admitting Nigerian students into unaccredited courses in medical sciences and engineering.
The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Sunny Echono, made this known at the 33rd National Standing Committee meeting on evaluation and accreditation of foreign qualification in Abuja on Monday.
According to Mr Echono, graduates of such programmes are no longer permitted to serve in the National Youth Service Corps, pending the accreditation of such courses by the host countries.
Mr Echono, who was represented by the Director of Information Technology (ICT), in the Ministry, Ike Orji, said relevant professional bodies in Nigeria have been directed not to register holders of such qualifications for professional membership and practice in Nigeria.
“In most African countries especially in Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana , Cameroun, Niger, etc, tertiary institutions run courses leading to award of degree certificates for two to three years as against four or five years in Nigeria,” he said.
He said there is a need to check the merits of the arrangement in these African countries without compromising the quality of education Nigerians receive.
Mr Echono said one of the major issues that would require the committee’s attention is the need to curb the rise of unaccredited foreign institutions admitting Nigerian students and issuing them with unapproved degree certificates.
Similarly, the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, said there are about 40, 000 Nigerians in tertiary institutions in various African countries, adding that the decision of the NSC committee would help the sector.
Also, the Director, Education Support Services, Justina Ibe, said about 20 persons have been caught and handed over to the police with respect to cases of forgery of certificates, presentation of fake certificates, forgery of signatures of ministry officials between 2015 and 2017.
According to her, one person has been jailed for seven years for ”massive forgery of certificates”.
Meanwhile, a member of the committee, Ben Ugheoke, who is a lecturer from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Abuja, told PREMIUM TIMES that quality assurance should be entrenched into the certification system.
“I am worried over Nigerians who leave to study in countries like Uganda and they are back within three years as graduates of mechanical engineering and they want to compete with our students who spent five years undergoing the same training,” he said .
He said the committee wants to see the parity between what is being imparted and ”what these people go out to learn outside the chores of the country in order to ensure that the processes and systems of those countries are safe for Nigeria”.
The Evaluation and Accreditation division is domiciled under the Education Support Services which is one of the seven professional departments in the ministry.