The role of academic libraries in the accreditation of undergraduate programmes: a case study of Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger state.

Author:Men, Joseph Manasseh
Position:Case study
 
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INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

The accreditation of degree and other academic programs is an acknowledgement process in which standards, guidelines and procedures are evaluated to ascertain the quality of a particular program by accrediting authorities which are either government agencies or professional bodies. Okebukola (2006) opined that accreditation of undergraduate programs in Nigerian Universities is meant to ensure that the provision of Minimum Academic Standard documents is attained, maintained and enhanced. It is a process of examining the obtainability and adequacy of resources, merit rating of resources and programs in order to enhance the quality of output. Accreditation as a process ensures that the curriculum, personnel, infrastructure, learning materials as well as the learning environment satisfy the needs and relevance of a university to achieve their predefined objectives. It is the process of evaluating from time to time, the academic standards of various undergraduate programs in various higher institutions of learning. In Nigeria, accreditation function is administered by the National University Commission (NUC) for all universities (including Federal, State and Private Universities), whereas the National Board for Technical Education (NABTE) handles that of Polytechnics and Mono-technics and finally, the National Commission for Colleges of Education who are concerned with the accreditation of other higher educational institutions like colleges of education and other institute that are responsible for training teachers It is also important to know that some professional or specialized courses are assessed by separate body or agencies. Some of these professional/specialized courses include: law, medicine, engineering and accounting.

The role of the National University Commission is to ensure that accreditation of academic programs, is made evident with continuous monitoring of these programs and subsequently, the accreditation of universities all through Nigeria. It is in this regard that Akomolafe (2009) pointed out the various benchmarks for accreditation of academic programs such as; to examine adequacy of admission requirements; resource assessment at the inception; scrutinize the fitness of philosophy of the programs and academic status of academic personnel. She further identified adequacy of office accommodation and curriculum in line with National University Commission Bench mark; budget allocation to departments; examine external moderation of scripts; results; scores; reports of student's work capability and library facilities. Some of these facilities include: number of library staff members, number of collection, currency, physical structure of the library, budget allocation and etcetera. Librarians are actively involved in the accreditation for the reason that the provision and use of library resources and services contribute to the quality of the student's educational experience. The way academic library support and manages its library collections reveals the priorities of the institution, the educational goals and methods of faculty and the performance of students and graduates. This view was further shared by Adegbesan (2011), who opined that the future of accreditation exercise is also of great attention, since the criteria that are formulated and applied may affect the proportion of the institutional resources that are available to libraries and the prospects for their performance.

The academic library is an integral part of a university, which exists to meet the information needs of students, staff, researchers and other users in the community. Onwudinjo (2015) posited that the main function of academic library is to serve as an auxiliary to its parent institution in carrying out its objectives. He also noted that the library is an important intellectual resource of an academic community, as it helps the university to fulfill the curriculum requirements and promote studies and research. Relevant books and other information materials are provided by stressing that academic library is a learning center for the students, as it function to providing materials that are needed for learning all courses. In a similar study, Abubakar (2011) also stressed the fact that library is a place of great interest to the undergraduates as it provides relevant, adequate and up to-date information materials that are needed for learning all potential courses that may be offered. This is why all academic library collections, are setup to meet the information and research needs of any academic program offered by the institution. That is, librarians put necessary efforts to involve the various departments by sending publisher's catalogue to each of them to see the list of available materials before embarking on annual acquisition.

Afolabi (2014) revealed that accreditation is awarded to higher education programs that meet the education requirement to set standards. It centers on a review of a program's content and delivery that includes area such as relevance, coherence, challenge, assessment, staffing, quality assurances and resources. Many institutions and department had failed accreditation by National University Commission (NUC) just because the libraries failed to meet the standard for information materials in those disciplines. It is important to assert that a university cannot exist and function properly without the presence of a library. This was the view of Afolabi (2014) in his study when he described a university and its library to be interdependent. This is because each is clearly indispensable of the other and this is the main reason why a university is established alongside with its library at all costs. This view was further shared by Edem, Ani, and Ocheibi (2008) as they expressed the idea that University libraries function as partners in supporting the university in teaching, learning and research, thus making them the "heart" of the universities.

Statement of the problem

Effective quality assurance depends on the availability of highly qualified faculty members and administrators. The success of accreditation, audits, and academic reviews is particularly demanding of human capacity since the success of the process is so dependent on the quality, dedication, and integrity of the people who serve as peer reviewers, and that of the administrators and faculty members who prepare the self-assessment and collect needed data at institutions being reviewed.

Despite concerted efforts, it is evident that Those efforts are hampered by: the difficulty to find a sufficient number of academics who are qualified and willing to serve as peer reviewers; the lack of appropriate training for those involved in the process in the accrediting agencies, at institutions, and as peer reviewers; and difficulties some institutions face in amassing the data needed for effective self-studies (Hayward, 2006). Also, issue of standard and quality assurance are still a mirage to most concerned Nigerians and the public. This observation, has in fact remained a bone of contention in the minds of people. Most universities are still facing additional challenges of recognition, quality and development of programmes offered in their institutions (C. N. Ozurumba, V. O. Ebuara, 2014)

To address these problems, there is need to evaluate accreditation of the programmes and making suggestions that will promote quality of output towards sustenance of the Universities programmes. It is against this backdrop that the researcher embarked on this study to investigate the role academic libraries play in the accreditation of undergraduate programs in the Federal University of Technology Minna.

Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to find out the role of academic libraries in the accreditation of undergraduate program.

The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Identify undergraduate accreditation requirement for various departments compared with library holdings.

  2. Identify university accreditation requirements compare with library holding.

  3. Find out if current materials available in academic libraries for accreditation of undergraduate program are adequate.

  4. Determine the relevance of the materials that are stock in the academic library in relation to accreditation requirement.

    Research questions

  5. What are the undergraduate accreditation requirements for various departments as it relates to library resources?

  6. What are the university accreditation requirements as regards library resources?

  7. Are the current materials available in academic libraries for accreditation of undergraduate program adequate?

  8. How relevant are the materials that are stocked in the academic library in relation to accreditation requirement?

    Hypothesis

    The null hypothesis will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

    (1) There is no significant relationship between academic libraries and accreditation of undergraduate programs.

    Significance of the study

    This research intends to examine the role of academic libraries in accreditation of undergraduate programs in Federal University of Technology. The findings of this research will be of utmost significance to government, governing council of institutions, academic librarians, students and researchers.

    It will help the government to understand the need to make available adequate fund for academic library in other to meet-up accreditation requirements and pave way for effective and efficient policies for improvement of academic libraries in general.

    To librarians, the study will help them with required information by acquiring relevant resources in meeting accreditation demands.

    To academic libraries, this study will serve as guide to implementing policies to enable them function effectively too.

    Finally, this study will be an addition to the already existing literature in the field of library and information technology.

    Scope of the study

    This study...

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