Saturday 21st October, 2017
Translate Language:::
Share

Protests hit Okpara varsity over delisting of programmes

Protests hit Okpara varsity over delisting of programmes

Students and authorities of Michael Okpara Uni­versity of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia State have kicked against the delisting of some courses of­fered in the institution by the federal government.
The students who staged peaceful protests against the action last week have de­clared their resolve to con­tinue with their demonstra­tion this week to register their grievances over the del­isting of seven programmes in the College of Manage­ment Sciences (COLMAS) by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The students demanded the immediate reversal of the policy alleging that sim­ilar programmes are still be­ing run by similar universi­ties in the country.
They expressed their fears that the future of the students offering the del­isted courses was being ex­posed to danger.
The affected programmes are Accountancy, Banking and Finance, Economics, Entrepreneurial Studies, Business Administration, Industrial Relations and Per­sonnel Management.
While Accountancy, Banking and Finance and Marketing are retained as options in Agric-Business, others were delisted from JAMB website.
During last week’s pro­test, the students had carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Management pro­grammes in MOUAU have been in existence since 2003; Restore our programmes in JAMB brochure’, ‘Please se­cure our future in the labour market’, ’We don’t want to study Management as option in Agriculture’ and ‘Please, Dean, don’t allow this, our future is at stake’.
When The AUTHORITY contacted JAMB on the is­sue, the Director of Informa­tion, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said that it was a directive from the Federal Ministry of Education that specialised universities should focus on their main mandate, hence, the affected programmes of Michael Okpara University, being a University of Agri­culture, were not listed in the brochure.
Benjamin said: “But I don’t think there is a need to protest about that because students in the affected pro­grammes will still graduate from them. It only means that the school will no long­er admit new students into the affected programme.”
While addressing the Dean of COLMAS and other management staff of the Col­lege on behalf of the students, the President of the Associa­tion of Management Science Students, Mr. Udochukwu Uzoma, said that the action of JAMB had destabilised the students.
He appealed to the Dean to intervene and have the del­isted programmes restored as the fate of students in the af­fected courses hang in the balance.
In his response, the Dean, Professor John Ihendinihu, commended the students for their peaceful disposition and told them that the man­agement was making spirit­ed efforts to have the delisted courses restored.
He expressed hope that JAMB which had restored similar programmes delisted in sister universities - Feder­al University of Agriculture, Makurdi and Federal Uni­versity of Agriculture, Abeo­kuta, would not treat MOU­AU differently.
Later at a press confer­ence, Ihendinihu urged the Federal Ministry of Agricul­ture and Rural Development to rescind the directive for the three specialised Univer­sities of Agriculture in Nige­ria to shut down all non-ag­riculture programmes.
He described the policy as retrogressive, injurious and a contradiction to the Act es­tablishing the universities which gave them the tripo­dal mandate of teaching, re­search and extension in ag­ricultural and related/allied disciplines.
The Dean recalled that most Universities of Agri­culture in other parts of the world offer programmes outside their core mandate, wondering why Nigeria will prefer to live in the past.
Ihendinihu, a Professor of Accounting argued that the delisted courses were critical to the success of Ni­geria’s quest to approach ag­riculture as business.
According to him, COL­MAS has a total of 10, 931 students comprising 6,735 regular and 4,196 in non- regular programmes and a staff population of 172. The total student population of MOUAU is less than 30,000.
Ihendinihu expressed concern over the implica­tion of both the directive of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the action of JAMB, say­ing they have further dimin­ished the chances of Abia candidates seeking univer­sity education.
This, he said, was more worrisome considering the fact that Abia has only one federal university, a special­ised one for that matter with limited programmes, unlike other states which have at least two.
He also alleged the mar­ginalisation of the South East geopolitical zone in the distribution of the 92 feder­al tertiary institutions in the country as the zone only got 13 against 20 in the North West, 17 in South West, and 15 in North Central.
“Of the 13 federal ter­tiary institutions in South East, only three are conven­tional universities and they are in Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi while Imo and Abia States only have specialised universities”, he said.
Some non-agricultural programmes such as Mass Communications, Philoso­phy, Peace and Conflict Res­olution Studies have been shut down in MOUAU.

SHARE ON: