By Patrick Obia
There is disquiet in the University of Cross River State (UNICROSS) as the National Universities Commission, (NUC) has issued a December 5, 2021 deadline for management to fix the studios of the Department of Mass Communication or lose accreditation.
This less than a year after the institution changed its name from the Cross River University of technology following an assent to the bill converting it to a conventional varsity earlier this year by Governor Ben Ayade.
The facilities in the studios which are to be used in training student in different fields of journalism and public relations especially in television, radio, print, advertising, and photography which were among the best in the country, have deteriorated over time with successive administrations not able to fix the infrastructure. The argument has largely centered on finance.
Several graduates of the department have said, at different times, that they were unable to utilize the studio for different reasons. And, the NUC whose responsibility includes approving educational programs offered in Nigerian Universities is said to have communicated to the institution, the need to get the studio functional.
A source said this left the management of the institution and the faculty in a limbo, with students planning a protests to draw attention to the situation.
The students argue that the projected cost of about NGN10 million was meagre and that the varsity can afford it. There is also the perception that their years in school will be rendered invalid if the Department is not accredited.
“The truth is that we are expecting NUC re-accreditation. What that means is that we have been previously given full accreditation to run the programme. That is why we currently run a Post Graduate Programme leading to the award of PGD, M.Sc, and Ph.D in Mass Communication,” the source said.
The source further explained that, “every 5 years, NUC visits for purposes of re-accreditation or full accreditation, as the case may be. In the case of UNICROSS Mass Communication Department, we are expecting a re-accreditation visit. And, hopefully, we should get it.
“However, there are a few challenges with the state of our studios. The studio equipment, especially radio and TV hold huge marks for our re-accreditation. The school management has not done what is required for these studios. I think that explains why the students are planning what they are currently planning for.”
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Augustine Angba is said to have summoned some students to his office on Thursday at about 4:30PM for a meeting to avert a protest. As at press time, the outcome of the meeting remained unclear.