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March 23, 2017

NUC told to allow universities run programmes in line with their vision – As Prof. Anusionwu delivers FUTO inaugural lecture

The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has been advised to allow each university in the country to run programmes in line with its vision and mandate instead of forcing all universities to do the same programme.

Professor Bede Chinyere Anusionwu of the Federal University of Technology Owerri gave this advice while delivering the 30th inaugural lecture of the university, October 19.

He described the NUC Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) for universities academic programme as a “block mould which will produce exactly the same shape of blocks”.

Professor Anusionwu said: “The NUC BMAS provides all courses to be done in a programme including the electives and the course contents. The BMAS is not the required minimum; it is the expected maximum requirements”.

He warned of the implications of implementing BMAS as desired by NUC, some of which include, “All students of the same programme from all universities will do exactly the same courses, the duties of the university senates are taken away; and the independence and supremacy of each university’s senate on academic matters are eroded etc.”

Continuing, he stressed that Nature abhors a block mould idea, adding that Physics programme in FUTO must not be a replica of Physics programme at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka or University of Ibadan. Their cores may be similar but their tilting may not be identical. Individual universities should be allowed to put in flavours to their programmes which make them unique.”

Professor Anusionwu advocated that NUC BMAS programmes be modified in such a way that BMAS should only indicate about nine units of compulsory courses for each semester. These courses can be called NUC courses while the remaining units should be filled up at the dictates of individual universities senates.

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He further buttressed his point by making reference to FUTO physics programme, which he said was designed to be “a combination of physics and engineering which will ultimately yield a product called technology and what is termed today as interdisciplinary”.

Prof. Anusionwu, a 1988 graduate of Industrial Physics, FUTO said, “a FUTO physics student does all courses in physics and majority of the courses in related engineering discipline, which is different from the conventional physics programme in other universities.

Earlier in his lecture titled: “Liquid Metals: Searching for properties at elevated temperatures”, the Professor of Physics and Dean School of Physical Sciences, began with quoting Genesis 1:1-2: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the water”.

He gave a brief history of physics, which is the scientific subject that studies matter and energy and how they interact with each other. “The word Physics was taken from the Greek word ‘Physis’ meaning ‘nature’. It is a branch of science developed out of Philosophy; a term used to describe a field of study concerned with the ‘workings of nature,”.

Describing matter as anything that has weight and occupies space, Prof. Anusionwu said it is classified into four states which are solids, liquids, gas and plasma.

Making reference to Genesis chapter 1 verses 1-2, he re-arranged the state of matter in order of existence – liquid, plasma, gas and solid, stressing that solid was the last state of matter to come into existence.

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Using various forms of graphs and mathematics in the highly technical lecture, he demonstrated his efforts and contributions in determining properties of liquid metals at high temperature using computational methods.

Elaborating on the importance of computational work, in the present scientific and technological dispensation, the lecturer said computational research work helps scientists to go beyond the experimental limit and the theoretician to visualize the ideas.

He regretted that certain factors such as lack of constant power supply, unavailability of required workstations and internet access have limited the scope of computation which a scientist in this part of the world could do.

“Certain calculations run for several hours and some for days before a convergance or equilibrium is attained. Availability of power supply continuously for such lengths of times in our environment is not usually possible. This will make such computations almost impossible”.

He called on the Federal Government to transform places like the National Mathematical Centre Abuja to cater for the needs of the Computational and Mathematical Research Scientists in the country.



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