In early December, 2021, the National Universities Commission (NUC) released a list of rankings of universities in accordance with various parameters. The ranking amongst others includes best university in Nigeria, universities with fully accredited courses, most efficient university, etc.
The Niger Delta University emerged the Most Efficient University in Nigeria for the year 2021. While the news was trending, many contended how the university emerged and the parameters used.
According to NUC documents and publications from educational analysts, a university is rated the most efficient in accordance with placement figures in juxtaposition with graduation numbers. This is to say the percentage of students who successfully graduated in comparison to admitted students determine the efficiency of a university.
If that is the case, why should the Niger Delta University be the best? Fees these days have become something else and many newly admitted students have absconded and involuntarily dropped out of their academic pursuits.
Despite the above, there are various internally observed factors that can be used to buttress NUC’s ranking of the Niger Delta University.
The following may help readers understand more:
1. Friendly graduation policies
The Niger Delta Universities in recent times have made friendly policies to ensure students graduate on time. One of such policies is the UG/14 Policy. The NDU management ensured that in order to fight the trend of students set to graduate spending more time in the University, the university made it possible to for a resit examination. This means any graduating student having extra can register such course again within the holiday period and rewrite such course(s) and pass. This policy in no small measure aid students to graduate on time.
Talking about graduation rate, one thing to keep in mind is graduation timing. Since November, 2018 till date, the NDU management have managed time prudently. Since the said date, mid semester holidays were majorly weekend long. Very rarely you will see a weeklong mid semesters holiday. This prudent use of time have brought the Niger Delta University back into the front stage of list of Universities with timely academic calendars.
3. Attempted Concurrent Semesters
In April, 2019, the Niger Delta University under Prof. Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo attempted a concurrent semester academic session. First semester in the morning and second semester in the afternoon. All these were in an attempt to manage time and keep the University ahead of all other Universities in Nigeria. Although the policy was readjusted, such became the first of its kind in Nigeria.
4. Increased Facilities in the Presence of Dwindled and Reduced Subvention
In 2017/2018 academic session, the Bayelsa State Government reduced funding to the University. The University started receiving only N350 million monthly as against earlier wage bill of N494 million. In addition to this, numerous non-academic staff of about 1,700 were retrenched. Despite the reduced resources, it was against all reasonable expectation that the university experienced unexpected growth from 2018-2021. Throughout this period, as against previous stagnant years, the NDU got new roads, new classroom buildings with better designs, better offices, first ever Senate Building in the history of the University, new 3 multipurpose halls, renovation/turn-around maintenance of various buildings including the Main Campus Auditorium and lots more. In fact, the PRO, Mr. Idoni Ingezi rightly captured it during the pandemic year when he said that “the VC has turned the University into a dockyard of massive construction.”
As an observer of NDU’s administrative behaviour, I can state that our speculation of possible future trends went wrong as the administration attracted more development than any other previous administration.
5. Fighting Sex for Grades
The issue of sex for grades in Nigeria which has bedevilled female students especially, sometimes keeping students longer in the university has become a cause for concern everywhere. However, in NDU, the management has been able to tackle the issue through several policies. One of them is conference marking. Another was the UG/14 policy mentioned in no. 1 above. All these were made to weaken lecturer’s hold on female students from keeping them in school longer than they were supposed to stay. Such an efficient management of staff and students needs to be commended, hence, bagging such a prestigious award comes with little wonder.
In all ramification, the Niger Delta University deserves its position as the most efficient university in Nigeria due to its graduation policies, students friendly policies, timeliness, efficient management of scarce resources, etc.
We will continue to observe to see where the NDU have continued to press on in this rating and where it has lacked behind in 2022. With the anticipated change of management, maintaining this ranking will not be an easy task. One could only hope for the best.