The author suggests ways to make the pat time programme of universities more credible.
Education is widely believed to be the key to success in the contemporary world. No wonder why many people that were not priviledged to attain higher education with their mates get urge to do so. This is one of the reasons the Federal Government of Nigeria introduced Part-Time education in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Students of this Part-time programme are mainly matured men and women who decided to attain university degrees. The introduction of the part-time programme was welcomed by many Nigerians, including stakeholders in the education sector. This was seen as a way of breaking the inequality in education opportunities for Nigerians which catalyses mass illiteracy.
However, experience nowadays showed that contrary to the objectives for which they were established, the part-time programmes have become destroyers of educational standards in our dear country. This is due to the fact that many of those admitted lacked secondary education. It is very ridiculous to expect a man or woman that has been a full-time trader for over ten years to sit for Senior School Certificate examination (SSCE) which is a basic requirement for admission into these part-time programmes. Such a person can easily register with a SSCE magic centre and obtain distinctions.
Moreover, it is educationally sucidal to control these programmes which held most of its lectures outside the main campus of an institution, thus giving room for the recruitment of unqualified and ineffective personnel as teachers.
Also, looking at the academic performance of these part-time students, one can easily conclude that 90% of them are primary school pupils. These eventually leads to the production of empty-headed individuals as graduates thereby leading to an increase in the rate of unemployment because no good company or organisation will like to employ ill-skilled graduates.
Relief came to many education-loving Nigerians when the National Universities Commission (NCC) announced the suspension of all part-time programmes in all the Universities across the federation. This is because many, including the government now understand that most of these part-time students do not know what it means to be undergraduates because with their academic performances, they forced people to conclude that tertiary education is mere formality and that there is no need to bother about quality. Also, many of the part-time students seemed to think that tertiary education certificate can be easily be bought with money.
Furthermore, as we commend the NUC for its decision to suspend the part-time programmes, it is important for the commission to employ more measures that will enhance the quality of the programme whenever the ban is lifted.
Any person that wants to be admited into part-time programme must be interviewed just like regular students. That way, those who do not have the aptitude for conscientious learning would be discouraged from applying.
Also, apart from the entry interview, an academic standard should be set for attainment by all part-time students within two years of their admission. Any one that failed to meet such standards should be advised to withdraw.
In addition to these, all satelite campuses should be permanently shut down and all courses should be taught within the main campus of each institution and part-time students should be thought by the same lecturers that teach regular students.
Also, the students should be enlightened on the goals, rules and principles of part-time education. This will guide them on how to be serious with their studies.
Besides, the National Assembly should also enact a law that will officially recognise part-time programme as a system of tertiary education in Nigeria. Such a law should also stipulate the basic aims, objectives and priciples of part-time education.
The National Universities Commission should also conduct a nationwide accreditation in all tertiary institutions in order ascertain the ones that have the necessary facilities to run the programme. Any tertiary institution that was found wanting after the accreditation should be prohibited from running the programme.
Finally, the NUC should create a Part-time programme department within the commision’s office. The department will be incharge of supervising the activities of all part-time programmes in Nigeria to ensure that the programme is effective.
Education is the key to a nation’s development. If we joke with our education sector, it simply means creating a formidable obstacle to development and our country will be the worse for it.
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