THE National Universities Commission (NUC) is set to inaugurate its first ever Online Programme Accreditation Portal (OPAP).According to a statement by the commission's Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Akinbode Agbaoye, the new initiative is aimed at automating the commission's accreditation process of universities' academic programmes.The portal will also automate the databases of all universities with links to the NUC, for proper management of the Nigerian University System (NUS). Besides, it will among others, ensure that the Minimum Academic Standard (MAS) in every programme is attained, maintained and fully complied with.The inauguration is billed for September 7 at the University of Calabar, Cross River State, after which the new process will immediately come on stream with real-time updates of information and data management.Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius A. Okojie said: 'with the Online Programme Accreditation System, the Commission has taken a major step forward in making access to information more transparent and easier to apply in carrying out its oversight functions.'Okojie also noted that the project would harvest and display information directly from the NUC Portal, making allowance for a secured, timely and cost effective database system for all Nigerian universities, and enabling them to upload students' academic and non academic staff members' data.Since the process is designed to capture the entire information on staff members such as Name, Qualification, Area of Specialisation, and Date of Promotion, it will also be capable of detecting double record inputs. For instance, should a lecturer's records be in more than one university, the user automatically gets a pop-up alert.Agbaoye explained that the portal 'is one of the benefits of the National Universities Commission Data Base (NUCDB) project, launched on 12 November, 2008, to make the commission more effective in its regulatory functions, for improved quality of graduates and programmes in the country.'The project Consultant, Paul Adingwupu said: 'the harmonisation of information, standards and formats will facilitate the development of many other knowledge areas of our university system and ultimately aid Nigerian universities to be among the best in the world.'He added that the portal boasts of well-secured features, intended to modernise and improve the inspection and accreditation process. According to him, the project has opened up new frontiers of engagement for the benefit of all stakeholders in the education sector and the general public.As part of its statutory functions, NUC is empowered to set the minimum academic standards for all programmes in Nigerian universities and to accredit them for quality assurance purposes. With this mandate, the Commission, at regular intervals, prepares the MAS Reports in respect of the 13 disciplines currently being taught in Nigerian universities, and which are duly approved by the NUC management, Board and the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The approved MAS Report provides the basis for accreditation of all programmes in the university system. Click here to read full news..