By: Kolawole Olawyinka, Abeokuta
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, has described graduates of the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) of the University, as good resource managers, because they have been well trained to become managers of farm personnel, material resources and finances.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor made this known while clarifying the fact that the College, being called COLMAS, does not have any bearing with agriculture, stating that the creativity and innovative abilities by the College students make them unique.
Professor Enikuomehin, noted that through most of the courses being offered in the College were not published by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) brochure, due to Federal Government’s directive, prospective students were still allowed to enroll for Entrepreneurship studies.
The Acting Vice-Chancellor, however, expressed optimism that the policy would be reversed, considering genuine moves by relevant stakeholders to convince government on the importance of allowing specialised universities to run management courses, adding that such an opportunity would enable Direct Entry candidates, to apply, to study either Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Economics in the University for the 2018/2019 Academic Session.
Meanwhile, parents, students and prominent Nigerians have continued to comment on the recent pronouncement by the Federal Government, which directed that all specialised universities to henceforth adhere to their core mandates.
The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba (Dr.) Adedotun Gbadebo, expressed deep concern over the directive and appealed to government to have a rethink on the matter.
Similarly, a parent of one of the affected students, Mr. Olumuyiwa Adebari, had said that the government’s action would have lasting negative psychological effects on the students, adding that the implication of the plan would demoralise some of them.
According to him, “It would cause confusion. Unless the government comes out specifically to let us all know how they are going to implement this new policy. For example, what is going to be the fate of those who are already in the system like my son, Olasubomi, a 300-level student? What is going to be his fate? I remember those days especially FUNAAB, when it was initially called the Federal University of Technology, Abeokuta and later, they merged it with the University of Lagos and it became FUTAB. And, I remember too when they said it was going to be known as the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).”
Mr. Adebari stated that the course; Economics, that his son was taking was still relevant; noting that inadequate number of universities in the country had long been a bone of contention.
He stressed that expanding the core mandates of the specialised universities would, in no way affect them, saying that institutions like the University of Ibadan, take courses that were similar and beyond FUNAAB’s core mandate and they still get results, saying the plan would not augur well with the nation.
While advising the students to take heart, he said there was nothing new under the sun. He solicited for the students’ interests to be properly taken care of, saying that some of them could be asked to go and complete their courses in other institutions.
He admonished the University Management to find a way of liaising with relevant authorities on the implications of the new policy.
For him, “Our policy makers just wake up, without adequately weighing the wider implication of what an action of such would cause a larger society. They roll out policies without proper consultation and input from the larger society. The information was not properly given. I think the government should consult widely on how they are going to implement this new policy in such a way that it would not really dampen the morale of the students”.
He further counselled parents to be patient, adding that they should follow events and look out for information as well as ask questions.
“They should not entertain fear. It is not something new. It is possible that someone offering Economics might not be doing that again, but doing something related to it. I also think the University should establish a forum, to meet with the parents of the students concerned”.
Mr. Adebari, however, pleaded that those students; who were already in school should be allowed to finish their courses; asking, where would they put the staffers and the resources on ground? Lately, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently donated a building to COLMAS while the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), also granted the Accounting course full accreditation status. ICAN had gone further to exempt FUNAAB students from taking preliminary examinations.
Corroborating Mr. Adebari, Mrs. Iyabo Oloruntola, the mother of another student in the Department of Economics; Success, said that she was unhappy on hearing the news, adding that she was wondering where the students would start from.
According to her, the impact on the students was that “It would affect their emotions as they would be starting all-over again. They would change school and economically, it would affect the parents, too”.
She, therefore, advised the Federal Government, to maintain the status quo, saying that it should continue with the previous academic pattern.
Responding to the claim that specialised universities were deviating from their core mandates.
Mrs. Oloruntola stressed that, “It doesn’t really matter if they have deviated, but if they are benefitting the students and the masses, they should continue, even if it is wrong, provided it is beneficial”.
She noted that some students had already graduated, adding that the various university communities also benefitted from having the students around, due to the economic implication. “Students would buy food and rent houses from the communities.
The communities are benefitting economically”, as she revealed that FUNAAB community had expanded largely due to an in
The immediate past Director, Academic Planning of the University, Professor Olukayode Akinyemi stated that the pronouncement of the government should be interpreted and passed on to the various universities, when they get engaged by the NUC, which is the umbrella body that oversees the affairs of Nigerian universities as well as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria Universities (CVCNU), by engaging in far-reaching consultations before advising the Federal Government on the best way to handle the situation.
He charged the students not to entertain any fear, noting that if things eventually turned out to be that way (based on the pronouncement), students that had already been admitted would finish their programmes and graduate, as he described the government plan as “radical change of policy and direction” that could create a lot of serious issues.
He said that for FUNAAB’s College of Management Sciences, the NUC had given full accreditation to the Departments of Accounting, Banking and Finance as well as Business Administration, while the Departments of Entrepreneurial Studies and Economics had been given interim accreditation, as the NUC team was billed to come soon, to carry out the full accreditation exercise.
The Don charged the Federal Government to come up with detailed alternatives on how to provide funds for the specialised universities; the way they should be well funded.