The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has charged committee on the accreditation and evaluation of foreign qualifications to maintain the standard of education as well sustain professionalism in their assignment.
Adamu said this at the 33rd National Standing Committee (NSC) Meeting on Accreditation and Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications in Abuja on Monday.
The NSC is the highest decision making body on the evaluation of foreign qualifications.
It was first constituted by the Federal Government in 1974 when many Nigerians were sponsored to Eastern European countries to acquire different types of degrees and diplomas.
Adamu said there was, however, need to assess the quality of foreign qualifications obtained by Nigerians in order to determine the Nigerian equivalence for the purpose of further studies and employment.
He said that a lot of progress had been made in the last six years toward improving services in the area of confirmation of the accreditation status of foreign institutions.
He added that progress had also been made in the areas of non-acceptance of courses of some universities in Africa not accredited as well as non-recognition of some foreign institutions, especially those in Togo, Ghana, Cameron and Republic of Benin.
“The processing of documents has been streamlined with relevant professional bodies for proper assessment of professional degrees.
“There has been effective liaison with law enforcement agents as a result of which quacks and fraudsters have been checked.”
The minister charged members of the inaugurated committee to work assiduously to consider and recommend criteria for the recognition of degrees obtained outside Nigeria.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Sonny Echono, stressed the need to curb the rise of unaccredited foreign institutions that have been graduating Nigerian students and issuing them with unapproved degrees certificates.
Echono, represented by the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mr Hyke Orji, said that the quality of education Nigerians receive outside the shores of the country should be the concern of the committee.
He added that many Nigerians had indulged in various illegitimate means to obtain degrees in and out of the country, and called on the committee to critically look at this so as not to compromise the quality of education Nigerians receive outside the shores of the country.
Also, Mrs Justina Ibe, Director, Education Support Services, said the committee between 2015 and 2017 had been strengthened as not less than 20 people were caught and handed over to the police for cases of forgery of certificates, presentation of fake certificates and the likes.
She added that one person had been jailed for seven years for forgery of certificates.
Mr Ben Ugheoke a member of the committee and a lecturer, University of Abuja, said the quality of education Nigerians received outside the shores of the country was worrisome.
Ugheoke said that quality assurance must be enshrined into the country’s certification system so as to have a better education in the country.
He added that many Nigerians go to other African countries to have a degree within three years whereas their colleagues in Nigeria spend five years undergoing the same training.
“We want to see the parity between what we have impacted and what other Nigerians go out to get so as to ensure that Nigeria and the systems of Nigeria are safe for Nigerians.”