Rufus Akintoye, a Professor of Accountancy and Finance, is the Head of Accountancy department, Babcock University (BU). In this interview with Kehinde Adio, he speaks about the uniqueness of Accountancy programme of the university, commencement of PhD in Accountancyand developmental progress of the department. Excerpts:
WHAT makes the accountancy programme in this university so unique?
Babcock University started its Accountingacademic programme with what is called Integrated Accounting Programme. This is about training students for Bachelors of Science degree in Accountancy, along side a professional certification. In this light, the university signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) with Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), where our students from 100 level are monitored by the institute to acquaint with our academic and professional curriculum. In view of this development, our students were exempted from all the ICAN examinations, except the final professional level examination, which is about five papers. The joy of this is that most of our students get chartered before they finish their academic programme within the stipulated time on the campus. We introduce ATS training programme to our students from 100 level and we ensure that each student complete all the ATS stages within a short time. We have a good news that in the last ICAN final examinations that was held recently,43 of our students got qualified.
In another development, the university signed another MOU with Association of Certified Chartered Accountants of London,which operates in more than 184 countries of the world. Babcock University is the only institution in Africa that has eight exemptions in their international examination.We joined in the examination last year December and 10 of our students passed the professional examination (known as P1), remaining four more papers for them to qualify to operate in those countries.
What is your postgraduate programme in Accountancy like?
We have been running masters degree in accounting for a while now, in a more professional way, with lecturers drawn from the field to impact professional knowledge on the students. This is aside the imputs of our experienced lecturers, who are PhD holders and other professors in the department.
In 2015, NUC gave the university an approval to run a PhD programme in Accountancy. We started the programme immediately, having put in place all that it would require to produce competent graduates in terms of human resources and research facilities. Our vision has been to produce self-sufficient and sound scholars for the labour market.
In view of this, we run collaborative initiative programme for the training of our students in the field of Accountancy, even at the PhD level, by engaging experts from other universities of repute in the country. In Babcock University,our doctorate degree programme is just a six-semester programme. All things being equal and by the grace of God, we are presenting 19 students for PhD graduation ceremony in June this year. As a matter of fact, we ensure quality assurance by ensuring that 70 per cent of our academic and research work is handled by external scholars. Even, the ongoing final oral examination of the PhD students is supervised by external body.
I want to say here that our PhD scholars research focus has a global relevance. Already, three of the graduating students had received foreign research grants for their research titles, while some of them also bagged cash award from the just concluded academic conference held in Lagos, due to their academic performances during the conference.
Don’t you think six semesters is too short to obtain a PhD, compared to what obtains in other countries?
It is a function of the preparedness of the students to study, availability of dedicated, committed lecturers and functional teaching and research aids, conducive learning environment, as well as academic stability. Babcock University is noted for academic stability, coupled with sound and dedicated teaching staff. More so, the National Uuniversity Commission (NUC) approves six semesters for PhD programme and it is universal across the globe. Babcock University believes in this and so we adhere to it.
What is your cutting edge and how do you ensure quality control?
First and foremost, we ensure that we disengage from the traditional mode of training. We bring our students together for effective academic and professional interactions, using the in-house lecturers and experts from other universities and the industry. I make bold to say that all our lecturers are professionals; out of the 21 lecturers in the faculty,19 are chartered accountants, while the remaining 15 had a PhD. We also have professors.
Accounting programme is run under four years in other universities,why is it five years in BU?
BU decides to put Accounting programme at five yeas to enable the students complete their professional course. Ideally, Accounting is a four-year course, but the university wants his students to get qualified as chartered Accountants before living the campus.