Wrongful award of honorary degrees: FG to sanction varsities

By The Citizen

THE Federal government yesterday gave warning to Vice Chancellors and the Governing Councils of Nigeria Universities over the award of honorary degrees to 'undeserving personalities' and promised to sanction any university that continues with the act.

The Minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai who gave the warning at the meeting with Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities said 'the issue of award of honorary degrees to undeserving personalities has continued to be an embarrassment to government.'

Rufai explained that it was lack of coordinated calendar for convocation ceremonies that had made it impossible for President Goodluck Jonathan who is the Visitor of Federal Universities and herself to attend the ceremonies.

She directed the Vice-Chancellors to discuss the matter and streamline convocation ceremonies so as many universities would not be having convocation at the same time.

Prof. Rufai said that there was the believe that poor management practices and eroded ethics in the universities were the root of maladministration and misuse of resources available to universities, expressing dismay that many private and state universities were yet to establish effective governance structures.

She said, 'This has grave implications for the day-to-day running and ultimate development of the universities. The NUC (National University Commission) had directed that this be done soonest.'

She further decried government's dismay over the continuous establishment of universities and running of programmes without regards to due process, noting that government through the NUC had laid down criteria for the establishment of universities in line with globally acclaimed practices.

The Minister warned, 'I therefore urge the perpetuators of this illegal act to discontinue henceforth in view of its negative consequences on university education vis-à-vis graduate output. On this note, let mw reiterate the Federal Ministry of Education's support to the Standing Committee on the closure of illegal universities.'

She warned the Vice-chancellors against mobilization of students for the National Youth service scheme and the delayed mobilization processes', stressing that in line with extant rules, the NYSC programme was exclusively for graduates from recognized universities with accredited programmes.

'Thus, the mobilization of part-time students as well as students from unaccredited programmes will not be tolerated. It also means that institutions that indulge in wrong mobilization of students for NYSC will henceforth be sanctioned,' she declared.

Prof. Rufai directed universities to ensure that degree results were released on time to enable the early mobilization of qualified students for NYSC.

On safety in the nation's citadel of learning, the Education Minister said government was disturbed over the upsurge of insecurity and other social vices on campus and advised university authorities to liaise with relevant government agencies so as to strengthen their internal security networks to avoid ugly occurrences.

The Minister frowned at the poor response of directive to university authorities to undertake staff and students audit for the purposes of data acquisition and effective planning, pointing out that the response to that effect fell short of being satisfactory.

Rufai who announced that NUC would sanction universities that charges above the approved N2, 000. 00 for post UTME, said that at the 59th meeting of the National Council of Education, NCE, there was a collaboration among the NCE, NUC and the ICPC in closing down illegal satellite campuses