Alake tasks Buhari over scrapping of management courses in specialised varsities

Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo has expressed concern over the directive of the education minister, Adamu Adamu that all specialised universities should stop offering management courses forthwith.

Adamu had directed that effective from 2018 academic year, all management courses in specialised institutions must be discontinued. But the monarch in whose domain, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) is located, appealed to the federal government to have a rethink on the matter.

Oba Gbadebo in a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and signed by one of his chiefs, Olotu Layi Labode were sent to Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, all Ogun State National Assembly members and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed said feedback from concerned stakeholders on the matter calls for concern.

“As you are aware, the authorities of FUNAAB for instance, in September 2011 established the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) in response to the directive of former president Goodluck Jonathan to all specialised federal universities to diversify their academic programs to enhance access to higher education in the country with a view to accommodating the teeming applicants. Sadly, the minister’s directive had made ‘nonsense’ of federal government’s popular and progressive policy”.

According to the royal father, “The implication of the minister’s directive, if implemented, is that most host communities affected across the country would be restricted to benefit only in the area of agriculture, thus limiting the choice the teeming students could make, to only courses in the core area of agriculture”.

“It is important to emphasise that offering courses in management sciences by the Federal Universities of Agriculture has no negative effect on the effectiveness and ability of the institutions to train students in the area of its core mandate.  There are examples of specialized universities (Agriculture and Technology) in the United States of America (USA), Europe, China and South Africa diversifying to run courses outside their core mandates in line with the current realities.  The case of Nigerian Federal Universities of Agriculture is not extraordinary and therefore not an aberration. COLMAS has been operating for the past six years and has graduated two sets of students numbering about 1, 000”.

The monarch added, “Most states in the country have conventional universities offering courses across various disciplines, and given the structure of admissions into federal universities, catchment area; a policy that confers an advantage on host communities, is a criteria that ranks next to merit.

“For this technological age and in order to transform agriculture into a world class process, a robust and all-inclusive learning and training programs should be adopted and encouraged. This is why we are appealing to the National Assembly, through the Senate President to persuade the education minister not to take many steps backwards after the Act No 48, 1992  (as amended), which directs University of Agriculture to develop and offer academic and professional programs leading to the award of diploma had taken many steps forward.

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