NUC Refutes 11 Years Medical Programme Reports

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Following reports circulated in
the media some days ago which
stated that medical students in
Nigeria would henceforth
spend 11 years in universities
before obtaining an MBBS
degree, the National Universities
Commission (NUC) has officially
denied the reports.
According to the Executive
Secretary of NUC, Prof. Julius
Okojie, the reports are baseless
and false.
He stated that the new
Benchmark Minimum Academic
Standard (BMAS) for Medicine
and Dentistry, which had since
been made public by commission,
only provides for a seven-year
training, leading to the award of
MBBS/MDS.
Okojie said: “A seven year MBBS
programme that encompass a
seamless four- year acquision of
the B.SC. Basic Medical Science
with interest in either Anatomy/
Physiology/Biochemistry.
“At the end of seven years,
students would have acquired the
Bachelor of Medical Science,
Bachelorof Medicine and Bachelor
of Surgery degrees. In case of
dental programmes, students
would have acquired a degree in
Basic Dental Sciences and
Bachelor of Dental Surgery.
Also Read>> Medical Courses
Now 7 Years In Nigerian
Universities – NUC
He continued: “The idea that the
curriculum change was effected
to enable the students mature
psychologically for the profession
is baffling and ludicrous. I am not
aware that ability to cope with
the rigorous and laborious
training offered in medical
schools is dependent on the age
of the students. Available
evidence does not suggest that.
Seriously, I don’t think you have
to be a grandparent to study
medicine or dentistry in Nigeria
or other parts of the world.
“Indeed, while I admit that there
is need to dynamically improve
and modify the current 6-year
medical/ dental training
curriculum in Nigeria to make it
an all-encompassing curriculum,
capable of producing medical and
dental practitioners that are
responsive to the 21st century
needs of their communities, I
must however state that this
improvement does not
necessarily require an increase in
the duration of medical and
dental education/training in
Nigeria.
“Beyond the quality and content
of the medical/dental curriculum
and the need for regular dynamic
reviews, a lot of factors impinge
on the quality of medical/dental
education/training and the
quality of medical practice in
Nigeria. These factors will need to
be holistically and effectively
managed to get the best out of
medical/ dental education in
Nigeria. For instance, the quality
and number of entrants into
medical school is very important.
“Therefore, before such
pronouncements are made and
circulated in the news media, I
expect the policy regulators to
have deeply reflected on its pros
and cons before seeking to
experiment with it. I expect them
to appropriately balance the
benefits with the cost, with both
the quality of medical education/
practice and the health of
Nigerians taken into good
account.
“Pending further clarifications
from the NUC on the news story
making the rounds; it is crystal
clear that any policy that seeks to
increase the duration of training
to 10 or 11 years will be an
arduous one that bristles with
reverberating and convulsive
implications”, he concluded.

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