By Saheed Ibrahim, Fadekemi Akanbi & Rasak Sunmonu
Lecturers in the public tertiary institutions in Nigeria have cried out on the harsh effects of heavy workload on their health and general well-being, attributing it to the rampant cases of untimely deaths among their colleagues.
The lecturers, who spoke with The Hope said that the improper lecturer-student ratio has led to the untimely death of many of them with their lack of social vigor, burden of missing scripts and tension arising from day-to-day class activities.
In February, a Senior lecturer at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Mr Echetama, slumped and died in a lecture hall on Tuesday, while in April, a contract lecturer at the Department of Earth Sciences, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Dr Olatunde Adegbuyi, was reportedly found dead in his car.
This year, four other lecturers with the Federal University of Technology, Akure, have also been reported dead.
Speaking in separate interviews with The Hope were the Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Adekunle Ajasin University , Akungba Prof Simon Eseinoza; the Dean, School of Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof. Mutaludi Akintunde,
Others are: Professor of Sociology, AAUA, Prof Olubunmi Alo; a lecturer in the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, Dr Gbenga Elegbe and a Mass Communication lecturer at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Mr Sunday Afolayan.
The AAUA, ASUU Chairman, Prof Simon Eseinoza said lecturers in public institutions across Nigeria were overstretched despite the fact that they had to battle with teaching, research and community services.
His words: “The NUC policy to Nigerian universities is a maximum of one lecturer to 30 students, but what we have is totally different. We now have more than 300 students for one lecturer and after this, we will start marking. The first challenge comes from marking and doing assignments beyond schedule.
While disclosing that about four lecturers died in FUTA this year, the Dean noted that lecturers were being overused, recommending that government needed to address the issues of shortage of manpower, unfriendly working environment.
In his own view, Prof. Olubunmi Alo said the semester workload of a lecturer goes beyond lecturing because every lecturer had to engage in research and some administrative functions and this was why many of them died of heart attack.
“In the last statistics I had, the requirements of all Nigerian universities put together is 22% of Nigerian lecturers having a PhD degree, that means 78% shortage.
A lecturer of Communication and Language Arts from the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, Dr Gbenga Elegbe noted that lecturers in Nigerian public universities were put on their toes.
He said aside teaching, the requirements set for lecturers were high and they had to meet up, saying this was telling on their health.
A lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Mr Sunday Afolayan told The Hope that there was workload on them.