In what seemed like back tracking on its previously well publicised stance of 11 years for any intending medical students gaining admission into any medical school in Nigeria, the National University Commission has shifted it’s ground on the issue. Here is how Oladimeji Ramon of the Punch Newspaper puts it;
The National Universities Commission has described as erroneous and misleading the news making the round that Nigerian medical students will now spend 11 years to obtain their first degree.
Its head of information department, Mrs. Adebukola Olatunji, clarified in a statement on Monday that medical students will only spend seven years in school rather than 11 years which was widely reported in the news.
Olatunji said newsmen misrepresented the NUC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, who was quoted to have announced the 11-year training period for medical students while giving the keynote address at the matriculation and inauguration of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, on March 12, 2016.
She said nowhere in the keynote address entitled, “Development of Medical Education in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges,” was 11 years mentioned or implied.
According to Olatunji, what Okojie explained was that the NUC’s basic minimum academic standard for Medicine and Surgery had been reviewed such that anyone wishing to study Medicine and Surgery and Dentistry will first have to study any of the four-year basic medical science courses such as Anatomy, Medical Biochemistry and Physiology before proceeding to the clinical training that would run for three years.
She said, “Although, the so-called ‘11-year Medical Programme’ stories have been credited to the Commission’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie’s keynote address titled, ‘Development of Medical Education in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges’, which was delivered at the Matriculation and Inauguration of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, on Saturday, March 12, 2016, nowhere in that lecture was 11 years mentioned or implied.
“Prof. Okojie, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary l, Prof. Chiedu Mafiana, had explained that the new curriculum provides for a seamless seven-year programme.
“With the new curriculum, a medical student would be expected to graduate in Basic Medical Sciences, with options in Anatomy, Medical Biochemistry and Physiology in the first four years, before proceeding for the clinical training that would run for three years.
“Prof. Okojie had further explained that the reviewed BMAS went through a long process, which included wide consultations with the academia, professional associations and regulatory bodies, following the conduct of a market needs assessment.
“According to him, the consensus was that medical training should be post-graduate. The main goal is to ensure that the crop of graduates emerging from the programme are psychologically matured to practice, with a high level of competency.”
Olatunji said NUC’s new basic minimum academic standard not only retained the fundamental learning objectives of the six-year programme and the national development goals for health in the country, it also retained the international outlook to guarantee global competitiveness.
She said, “While noting that the extant six-year programme shall continue to subsist for a period to be determined, Prof. Okojie observed that attempts had been made over the years to run medical programme using course credit system and that the hallmark of the new document is that it clearly apportions credit weightings to all the courses and activities.”