Mixed reactions greeted the suspension of part time academic activities in Nigerian universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC). The NUC said the decision was to harmonise operating guidelines in order to check irregularities and indiscipline among universities offering part time studies.
Speaking on the announcement, Dr. Felix Igwe, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of University, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, supported the move, stressing that the NUC reserves the statutory right to regulate standards in the various universities.
Dr. Igwe, who spoke at a forum of the union, said: “If in their wisdom they think it is right to halt the programmes to raise the quality of delivery, it is not out of the order. However, the situation also places a responsibility on the commission to be time conscious about it.”
“There are several persons, especially the participating students, who would be unsettled by the stalemate. That means NUC has to work on those universities mounting pressure on it to set up proper guidelines for the running of part time programmes and to do so within the shortest possible time”, he added.
In his view, Dr. Amina Fiberisima, an educationist stated that the decision by NUC infringes on the rights of those undergoing the cancelled programmes and contravenes the national policy on education, which he noted, holds that an individual through regular studies at the universities.
He said it was unilateral for the NUC to take such a sudden decision across the board. A part time student at the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport), Juliet Obosi, took the news with mix feelings, consideration it both as a setback and a good omen on the other hand to ensure decorum and check growing excesses in the manner the programmes are run.
She said of Uniport, “They treat us anyhow. Imagine the hike in fees from N48,000 to N105,000. We tried to agitate, and they told us they have taken their decision and there is nothing we can do about, but even for that you do not even see any improvement in the poor conditions under which we are learning.”