By Felix Khanoba
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has expressed concern over the poor number of lecturers in the existing 164 universities in the country.
The Commission said it is depressing that only 61, 000 academic staff are training two million students that are currently in the nation’s private and public universities.
Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of NUC , who stated this in Abuja during a two-day retreat for governing councils of federal universities, said a lot need to be done to improve lecturer-students ratio in the country to achieve the desired goal of sound university education.
While identifying bad leadership and poor governance as major problems of public universities in the country, the NUC boss said such acts often resulted in the inability of the institutions to achieve their mandates.
His words: “Imbalance structures and processes in Nigerian University System today reveals a situation characterised by poor leadership, corrupt practices, avoidable conflicts, general under performance , profound parochialism and inadequate teaching and learning environment.
“The consequences of bad leadership and poor governance have combined to undermine the capacity of our universities to actualise the core mandates of teaching, research and community service.”
Also speaking at the retreat with the theme, ‘Elements of Statutory Governance, Procurement and Financial Accountability in Nigerian Universities’, the Chairman of NUC Board, Prof. Ayo Banjo, went down memory lane on the overview of the nation’s universities.
Prof. Banjo described Nigerian University System as one that needs urgent ‘surgery’, adding that a situation where some graduates cannot think properly indicates they are not worthy of their degree certificates.
“The general feeling among Nigerians is that the universities are performing below expectations.
“There is no more quality research, there is no stable academic calendar except those of private universities,” Prof. Banjo, who is a former Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan (U.I.) lamented.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, who declared the retreat open, tasked governing councils and other stakeholders on the need to produce graduates with the requisite industrial skills.