Tahir Mamman, the Federal minister of Education, has inaugurated an inter-ministerial committee to investigate fake degrees.
The fake degree scandal started on social media by an undercover journalist who revealed he obtained a degree within six weeks and even proceeded to embark on the mandatory one-year national youth service under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
The investigative panel set up by the Federal Government is tasked with addressing the intricate web of allegations surrounding the procurement of fake certificates within academic institutions.
The panel will Examine the veracity of the allegations of degree certificate racketeering within both foreign and local private universities in Nigeria;
The panel is also tasked with reviewing the role of any MDA or its officials (including identifying such officials) in facilitation of the recognition and procurement of the fake certificate in question;
It will review existing policies and procedures related to accreditation and certification to identify weaknesses contributing to the issue;
Also, the committee will examine the rules, procedures and processes for recognition and accreditation of foreign universities and programmes by the Federal Ministry of Education;
The committee is to establish if unapproved foreign institutions (Degree Mills) exist or not in Nigeria in whatever form with their identities and locations if any. Make appropriate recommendations for review of any rules, procedures, processes to prevent re-occurrence and sanctions for identified erring officials
The panel is to make other recommendation that will strengthen the system of recognitions, accreditations and quality assurance of degrees in Nigeria and Examine the extant rules procedures and processes for granting of provisional licences to new universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC);
Tasked also with Examining the procedures and processes for periodic accreditation of programmes in the universities by the NUC and examine their effectiveness in quality assurance of the programmes;
Without prejudice to the periodic accreditation exercise of the NUC, the panel is to examine whether or not Private Universities established in the last 15 years have in place prescribed facilities, appropriate management structure, adequate funding of programmes, requisite staff.
The inauguration of this committee reflects the government’s commitment to upholding the integrity of academic qualifications in the country and the committee findings are anticipated to shed light on the extent of the issue and contribute to strengthening the regulatory framework surrounding education in Nigeria.