NOUN VC, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has given conditions to its post graduate students following claims about inability of some of them to graduate even after they had taken all their courses.
The university frowned at a statement, titled “Call on Open University of Nigeria to Suspend the ‘No 3.0 GP No Graduation Policy’ or Face Students Mass Protest”, which was issued by one Tony Christian.
It said the statement contained “several inaccuracies and falsehood couched in wild generalisations with the aim of whipping up public resentment.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja, Malam Ibrahim Sheme, Director of Media and Publicity of the university explained the role of the university’s Senate and the role of the regulator, the National Universities Commission (NUC).
He stated that: “In the historical tradition of universities globally and based on recommendations from the Departments and Faculties/Schools/Colleges, the Senate of a university deliberates and makes policies on all academic matters, which include both admission and graduation requirements. NOUN is not an exception. In addition to the Senate, university’s academic policies are equally informed by guidelines and pronouncements of the NUC.
“In line with NUC’s Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) for Nigerian universities (which is a policy document in the public domain that can easily be accessed by everyone), the minimum pass mark for ALL postgraduate courses is a “C”, which is a “credit” and carries a grade point of 3 (in clinical/pharmaceutical sciences, it is a “B”).
“In terms of the graduation requirements for most programmes, a student is required to have earned a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.00 and a Total Credit Earned (TCE, meaning the summation of all the courses registered and PASSED) of 30 before he may be pronounced ‘graduated’ by the university.
“For professional programmes like the MBA, the TCE is far higher. In addition to CGPA and TCE, postgraduate students are similarly expected to have fulfilled other academic requirements like passing all the courses registered, particularly the core courses. For example, a postgraduate student must pass the Good Study Guide (GST707/807), which is an introductory course for an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) student, etc. A postgraduate student cannot, for example, fail a core course like Research Project, Research Methodology, etc., and expect to be graduated even though he/she has met the minimum TCE and CGPA for the programme.
“While the mantra of the current university Management is to make NOUN ‘more NUC than NUC’ itself, the university is not unaware of the fact that in the formative years of the university, some of our operations were not properly aligned with the regulatory dictates of the NUC and as such some of the postgraduate students may not have been properly informed of the degree awarding rules for the programmes they applied for. We are mindful of this and steps are being taken to first adequately sensitise the students who were given admission with effect from the 2016 first semester on the need to fully comply with the NUC BMAS and, secondly, to come up with a justifiable modality that would ensure that older students who are caught up in the system as a result of their inability to meet the minimum graduation requirements are accommodated.
“Let us be clear that the latter would be done bearing in mind the need to NOT water down the quality of the degrees and certificates of NOUN.
“In this regard, the Board of the School of Postgraduate Studies is in the process of re-examining the cases of students in this category on a case-by-case basis, and its final decision would be deliberated on the floor of the university Senate.
“Let me reiterate that as a legitimate institution established by law, NOUN would not succumb to blackmail from any quarters nor would its Management be arm-twisted to issue questionable degrees that are contrary to our vision and mission statements.”