The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL recently, constituted a Committee to reengineer and produce a final draft of the Curriculum for the Undergraduate Medical programme in Nigerian universities.
Professor Rasheed seized the opportunity to constitute the team while receiving the Committee on Post Graduate Qualification for Medicine and Dentistry Lecturers in Nigerian Universities in his office.
The Committee was visiting in order to discuss admission quota into medical sciences, current status of the MBBS and Dentistry BMAS review, PhD qualifications for medical lecturers and the National Post Graduate University of Medical Sciences.
In his welcome remarks, the NUC Scribe was elated at the committee’s timely visit because the Commission was in the process of overhauling the MBBS under graduate curriculum and required a team of academic and professional experts to look at the document before onward transmission to universities for their inputs.
He said, according to CAP A3 Section 4 sub-section B 1-3 of the NUC Law, the draft curriculum must be sent to all universities offering the programme before it could be adopted officially.
The Executive Secretary expressed hope that the final document would serve as a solid guide particularly in the assessment of medical schools belonging to private universities to check their proliferation and sanitise their activities.
He informed the meeting that the new BMAS document would be distributed to the Vice Chancellors for onward transmission to their senates and a c a d e m i c d e v e l o p m e n t committees at the upcoming retreat for Vice-Chancellors of all federal universities in July.
While discussing the agenda for the visit, Professor Rasheed lamented on the irregularities in the administration of the medical programme by some neighbouring countries.
He added that even though NUC could not accredit programmes in other countries, it was necessary t o prick the conscience of the Nigerian public through regular information gathering and press briefings to keep them abreast on the standard required by the regulatory body in Nigeria.
NUC should be able to point out those institutions in other countries whose mode of delivery and standard the Commission was comfortable with. This, he said, was to disabuse the students’ minds on cutting corners to obtain qualifications that do not meet the NUC requirements.
The Executive Secretary urged members of the committee to update themselves on global trends in their profession and give feed back to the Commission on the suitability or otherwise of members in their profession who travel to other countries to impart or seek knowledge.
He also tasked them to possess a unity of purpose within the medical profession to serve as the pillar NUC could build on to improve the quality of service delivery in the medical field.
The NUC Scribe described the lack of staff in the medical field within the Commission as an aberration and hoped that the void would soon be filled by employing a medical staff on sabbatical each year who would work with the Director of Academic Planning in the Commission on matters of visitations, curriculum and advice pertaining to the medical field.
Professor Rasheed also explained that the NUC was not imposing the doctorate degree qualification on medical practitioners, but rather, to provide guidelines for those that seek to obtain a doctorate degree even after being fellows in their medical profession.
He said, a purely research based doctorate degree was a pre-requisite for any doctor that wanted to venture into the teaching line. He advised the team to create numerous options for obtaining a doctorate degree to encourage the medical professionals to seek for it.
According to the Director, Directorate of Academic Planning, Dr. Gidado B. Kumo, the Commission had adopted a clear strategy in line with the baronial convention and employability profile on education supported by Nigeria.
He said the Curriculum had been designed in such a way that it addresses certain courses such as Physics and Mathematics that were not too directly related to the MBBS degree but would accommodate new courses which had direct bearing with the medical programme.
He maintained that all other issues relating to the medical document remained the same, except the introduction of a general objective for the programme, introduction of objectives according to strata in the programme and the introduction of learning outcomes for all the strata in the programme.
The learning objectives were further classified into the skills, knowledge and attitude, saying that the areas would enable the student know the specific skills required, the knowledge that must be derived on completion of the programme and the attitude a medical doctor should have and that which he ought to display in the course of his job with his colleagues.
The leader of the team and Deputy Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr. U. Ilevbare, thanked the Executive Secretary for giving them audience and commended his initiative at reviewing the University Curriculum for better quality delivery.
He expressed the team’s willingness to work with the Commission in the production of the new BMAS and advised that the area of competencies by the graduate should be contained in the BMAS.
Dr. Ilevbare opined that, since it was a professional programme, the capabilities of the student were very paramount to the effective delivery of the programme. He also called the attention of the Commission to address the issue of repetition of courses which in his opinion tend to overburden the student.
Dr. Ilevbare further commended the Executive Secretary for allowing training institutions make input on 10% of the content of their curriculum to accommodate innovations and desist from rigidity in the content delivery by universities.
He said the leverage would translate to a total of 28 credit units spread across 6 years of the programme. He, however, pleaded with the Commission to also consider herbal medicine in the curriculum as it is a branch of pharmacology that should not be ignored.
Members of the Committee on Post Graduate Qualification team were Prof. P.M. Mshelbwala, Prof. Oladapo Shittu, Prof. Adebola R.A, Prof. Ibrahim A. Yakasai, Prof. A.M.E Nwofor, Prof. O.AAtoyebi, Prof. S.A Adebisi and Prof. S. Anyanwu.
On the NUC team were the Director, Directorate of Academic Planning and his team, as well as Hajiya Fatima Kyari from Baze University, Abuja.