Minna — A former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, has disclosed that the certificates being issued by the National Examinations Council (NECO) is "now globally recognised."
NECO was established a couple of years ago by the federal government to serve as alternative to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). However several educational institutions and even students had initially been sceptical about the certificates issued by the examination body, but Okebukola said the negative view of NECO certificates is now a thing of the past.
"NECO has improved significantly, NECO certificate is highly valued, it is now highly treasured at home and abroad," he declared when he delivered the lecture 'Global Competitiveness in Education: Implications for Educational Assessment in Nigeria', being the third in the series of lectures to be organised by the examination body in Minna, Niger State.
Okebukola attributed the "global recognition" of NECO certificates to the quality of its assessment and the solid foundation laid for the examination body by its past and present registrars and staff, but advised that the level they have attained should be built upon.
He however took a swipe at some Nigerian universities describing them as "road side universities" and accused some of them of not having the required equipment and manpower to enable them compete favourably with their counterparts across the world.
Okebukola also claimed that "academic corruption" is still very prevalent in many Nigerian universities, adding that plagiarism and other academic crimes are rampant in these institutions.
He said when he assumed office as executive secretary of NUC, he toyed with the idea of closing down some of "these roadside universities", but was prevailed upon to drop the idea after being assured that they would improve.
Okebukola also commended the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), saying "the JAMB registrar is doing a good job."
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka said a ministerial strategic plan built on 10 platforms to reform the country's education sector is being implemented by the federal government.
"The strategic plan envisages that if these pillars are addressed in accordance with outlined strategies and objectives, Nigeria's education sector will not only be globally competitive, it will address the yearnings and aspirations of the people."