NOUN Lists Requirements for Postgraduate Students
The attention of the Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has been drawn to a statement making the rounds pertaining to the inability of some postgraduate students of NOUN to graduate even after they have taken all their courses. The statement, titled “Call on Open University of Nigeria to Suspend the ‘No 3.0 GP No Graduation Policy’ or Face Students Mass Protest”, was issued by one Tony Christian. The statement contains several inaccuracies and falsehood couched in wild generalisations with the aim of whipping up public resentiment.
It is disheartening that some media organisations have already rushed into publishing the allegation without making any effort to observe the minimum journalistic ethic of hearing from the other party, in this case NOUN.
For the purpose of clarity, let me start by explaining the role of the University Senate and the role of the regulator, i.e. the National Universities Commission (NUC). 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. The National Open University of Nigeria (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 they 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 on 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 1st 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 the National Open University of Nigeria.
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, the National Open University of Nigeria 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.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, urges all existing postgraduate students to be mindful of the graduation requirements for their programmes and work hard to ensure that they meet these requirements rather than resulting to media blackmail and propaganda. The University would not succumb to fallacies and sponsored news publications aimed at arm-twisting the Management to take hasty decisions that would undermine the integrity of NOUN as a respectable, reputable institution of learning.
Malam Ibrahim Sheme
Director, Media and Publicity
National Open University of Nigeria