Accreditation of Study Programs on Addictions in Nigerian Universities: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Need for Advocacy
Access to drug treatment services in Nigeria remains low due to a severe shortage in the drug treatment workforce. Plans are underway to address the workforce shortage by introducing drug addiction training programs in Nigerian universities. This paper offers a brief overview of the required conditions for creating accredited degree programs in Nigerian universities, challenges universities face in introducing drug addiction programs, and current opportunities for such programs. The findings of this study serve as a guide to pursuing the accreditation of an addiction studies degree program in Nigerian universities.
Fifteen lecturers (nine male and six female) participated in the study. All participants were former and current department heads who have been involved in program accreditation at the Niger-Delta University.
This study compiles details on relevant conditions stipulated by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for an accreditation exercise and experiences of Nigerian degree-awarding institutions seeking accreditation of their degree programs. The author compiled these details by reviewing relevant documents on the accreditation of new programs in Nigerian universities. Selected university lecturers who have served department heads for at least four years were also interviewed. This length of time is sufficient for acquiring relevant information on new course accreditation requirements.
Results revealed that formal stipulated conditions such as program curriculum, quantity and quality of teaching staff, and facilities such as textbooks and journals are essential for new program accreditation. However, informal advocacy also has a significant impact on the process of seeking accreditation for new programs from the NUC.
Nigerian university authorities seeking to introduce drug addiction programs should investigate the NUC accreditation criteria and release funds promptly to upgrade physical facilities to the accreditation standard. The university authority should also engage national and global drug addiction treatment and prevention trainers to instruct selected university lecturers to meet the NUC academic staff criteria for drug addiction training. In addition, advocacy for the drug training program to the NUC by the International Consortium for Drug Demand Reduction (ICUDDR) and other relevant Nigerian drug control stakeholders is essential