Septembre 17, 2015 By Ugochi Juliet

The enormous achievements in development in most of the developed countries comes mainly through research. This made former president Goodluck Jonathan to task the nation universities in the art of research. Following this mandate by the federal government, the regulatory body of all universities in the nation, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has been introducing various commendable schemes and awards to advance the standard of education in the country as well promote research among university students.

One of such award scheme was the Nigerian Universities Doctoral Thesis Award Scheme (NUDTAS) which evolved from the Nigerian Universities Postgraduate Thesis Award Scheme (NUPTAS) also instituted by the NUC (Nigerian Universities Commission). According to the NUC, the scheme was introduced to promote best practices among universities, identifying and encouraging best PhD thesis, encourage academic research among students and to boost postgraduate scholarship. This can be achieved by the students and their schools investing their intellect and time in research. This is important as research plays an important role in nation building.

The low enrollment of students in the area of research in our universities has been attributed to the fact that the role of research in the nation’s development not been accorded its right of place. Our higher institutions of learning need to understand that research plays a huge role in our nation’s desire to be among the best nations of the world in terms of growth and development. Our postgraduate students and their schools should play a major part in providing the needed human resources and fields of studies required for our economy to thrive.

The world economy is driven largely by those who possess knowledge and the required expertise and for Nigeria to attain her Millennium Development Goals, she has to posses the required manpower equipped with the right knowledge. This can be gotten from the research carried out by our postgraduate students and their schools. Former President Jonathan made this known to the universities when he charged them to help the nation to realise its goal of being among the best 20 economies of the world by the year 2020.

Therefore the NUC has to support the universities to build a culture of academic excellence and intellectual research. The selection process for the NUDTAS award starts with a selection process where every university nominate the best thesis they have for the year to a team of experts selected by the NUC. This selection committee then evaluates, assesses and selects the best thesis that meet the requirement of the original and most important contributions to the needed disciplines. They are able to do this effectively by adhering to the NUC’s guidelines. The needed disciplines include Environmental sciences, Agricultural Science, Medicine, Administration, Pharmacy, Education, Science, Engineering, Social Science and Law.

The winners of the best thesis that adequately addresses the nation’s needs in the areas mentioned above, receive their prizes at the NUDTAS annual ceremony. The occasion also provides ample opportunity for future and intending awardees to learn the lesson that hard work pays. An award winning thesis will among other things show that the student understood the proper research process, gotten from the teaching by the teacher who gave great value in the education. There should also be a favourable culture of learning environment, adequate amount of needed resources and availability of relevant data.

Due to insufficient funding of research in Nigerian universities, there has been a slow growth of research in the schools. Since no meaningful research can be carried out without money there is a need by government to increase the funds available to Nigerian universities. According to NUC policy, there is a five percent allocation for research purposes, given to Nigerian higher institutes of education as recurrent grant which is grossly inadequate, inaccessible to the schools and most times irregular. To make matters worse, there is the hope of earning more in other countries which draws away our seasoned lecturers. They go there to earn more and leave the young ones they would have tutored.

In Spite of all these challenges, the Nigerian student thrives on. The NUDTAS awardees are a perfect testimony to the fact that if given a conducive environment the Nigerian student can soar to great heights.

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