National Universities Commission (NUC) has reiterated its position on the importance of medical doctors in academia obtaining master’s and doctorate degrees in order to attain the rank of professors.
This stance has sparked controversies, particularly regarding the necessity of acquiring master’s and doctorate degrees in addition to medical fellowships.
The Committee on the Status of Medical Education in Nigerian Universities, recently inaugurated, held a meeting with Professor Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), to deliver an interim report.
Professor Rasheed clarified that the newly introduced Doctor of Medicine programme serves a different purpose from the original medicine by fellowship programme, emphasising that one cannot replace the other.
The committee, led by Dr. Noel Saliu, the NUC Deputy Executive Secretary for Academics, met with Professor Rasheed to discuss various areas of medical education, including Basic Medical, Allied Health, Dentistry, Basic Clinical, and Clinical Sciences, as they all fall under the umbrella of medicine.
Professor Rasheed encouraged the committee to diligently investigate and compile accurate information on the state of medical education in Nigeria, focusing on factors such as the availability of training facilities and the quality of student training in medical colleges. He stressed the importance of collecting this data to inform the government and other institutions in the country.
The Executive Secretary acknowledged the efforts of medical doctors who have remained committed to addressing issues in the field. He expressed satisfaction with the changes made to the medical curriculum, which were the result of persistent collaboration with medical professionals.
Professor Rasheed stated that while the NUC initially intended to distance itself from a medical postgraduate institution that awarded PhDs with undue powers, he recognized the value of a PhD in medicine, which enhances one’s status as a world-class scholar in the field.
Emphasising the need for research in PhD programmes, he asserted that master’s and PhD degrees are prerequisites for becoming a Professor in Medicine. He urged the committee to produce a comprehensive document outlining the status of medicine in Nigeria.
Noel Abiodun Saliu, speaking on behalf of the committee, assured the Executive Secretary that they would request Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian universities to provide the necessary documents to expedite their work and incorporate essential data reflecting the state of medical facilities in the country’s universities. He committed to completing the committee’s assignment by the end of April.
The committee consists of Professors Ibrahim Yakasai, B.B. Shehu, King David Yawe, Joseph Ahaneku, and Saadiya Sambo, an employee of the NUC Directorate of Academic Planning, who serves as the Secretary.