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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Manpower shortage causing half baked graduates -Experts

By Kehinde Oluwatayo

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Shortage of manpower in the university system has been identified as one of the reasons why the country has continued to churn out half baked graduates who cannot compete with their counterparts in other places.

Reacting to call by the Executive Secretary of National University Commission, Chris Maiyaki that university system should be isolated from the embargo placed on employment, some educationists who spoke with The Hope called for an urgent step to address the problem.

Maiyaki had said that Nigeria has 100,000 lecturers teaching 2.1million students.

Speaking on the issue, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Prof Francis Igbasan said products of Nigerian universities can no longer compete with their counterparts in other places as a result of shortage of manpower.

According to him, “in the past, lecturers were taking two courses but now they take six, eight courses and this is telling on the quality of education.

“These days, universities have been put under bureaucratic method of employing staff. There are many bottlenecks. Vice Chancellors do not have the right to recruit and as a result we don’t have enough lecturers.

Igbasan who stressed that most of the lecturers employed in the past have travelled abroad to look for greener pastures while others have retired, urged the federal government to grant autonomy to the sector to save the system from collapse.

He said that the NUC guideline of ratio one lecturer to fifteen students for science based courses and one lecturer to twenty students for art courses is no longer in force in Nigeria.

According to him, one lecturer now teaches thirty to fifty students which is why the job can not be thorough.

“Let government address the issue of remuneration. Most of our lecturers who go abroad for conferences, workshops and trainings don’t come back because  the pay here is not encouraging.

“And let them grant autonomy to the university to employ without going through bureaucratic method. These are the ways you can boost the number of lecturers in the University.

Also speaking on the issue, another lecturer, Prof Olaniyi Okunlola of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Communication Technology, Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA said the result of shortage of manpower in the University system is ineffectiveness and inefficiency in teaching and supervision of students.

“Nowadays, a lecture teaches 800 to 1000 students in a semester. He takes six to eight courses apart from supervision. You have a lecturer now supervising forty students instead of five. How can the work be done thoroughly.

“It is these same lecturers that will conduct practicals for 300 to 400 students. All over the world, there is  standard ratio of lecturers to students but it is no longer the same in Nigeria. That is why we don’t have any Nigerian university in the first 1000 universities in the world ranking.

“The system is short of manpower. For example in FUTA, we have not employed any academic staff in the past four years and many have retired while some transferred to other universities abroad. So the ratio of lecturers to students is no longer what it should be.

“And the federal government said no federal university should recruit without approval from the head of service and the accountant general of the federation. Now when you send a list of 700 to them, they will reduce it to 100 and they won’t recruit qualified and right people.

“Apart from the fact that federal government is not funding universities, we don’t have facilities in our laboratories, we are short of manpower and it has resulted in low quality of education”, he stressed.

He said university system is supposed to be autonomous

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