The Nigeria Universities’ Commission (NUC) recently expressed its misgivings about the quality of lecturers in Nigerian universities. It claimed that this anomaly was more rampant in the private own universities, which according to it employ poor quality teaching staff to order to maximise profit. The universities’ regulatory agency further lamented that the situation pose great challenge with regard to mentoring, research, and the general evaluation system of the universities among others. The commission also claimed that, based on report of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian universities, and despite support from different agencies, less than 50 per cent of lecturers have doctorate degrees making them lack in the right mix and quality needed, which in turn leads to the production of poor quality graduates and accreditation performance. We are persuaded to point out that one of the functions of the commission is to “ensure quality assurance of all academic programmes offered in Nigerian universities.” As a coordinating body, it is also the duty of the commission to ensure that it discharges its responsibilities by recruiting not just adequate but qualified relevant manpower.
In our view, that NUC itself is raising this alarm calls to question its effectiveness in the performance of the functions assigned to it by the founding authorities. It also elicits the question, who approved those universities? Is staffing prospects not part of the condition to be fulfilled by an application for operating licence? Even with this development in the system, the NUC has not stopped recommending to the Federal Executive Council fresh applications for approval. Before making those recommendations, we wonder if the NUC ever paused to consider if there is enough manpower for their effective and efficient operation. When Nigerian universities were truly international communities, they had no trouble attracting quality lecturers from in and out of the country to augment requirements. That stopped a long time ago with the nose-dive of the nation’s economy and the introduction of ethnic origin as a criterion for recruitment even in federal universities.
In our opinion, the NUC should be blamed for the rot it has so eloquently identified in the system. NUC regularly carries out its oversight functions in the form of visitation, accreditation assessment and so on. What happens to the outcome of those exercises which objective is to ensure that standards are adhered to? Nothing, we dare say, because such exercises are carried out to simply fulfill all righteousness and treated as a source of some kind of self-aggrandisement. We make this assertion because it is only through those processes that NUC would have discovered what it is complaining about. Most unfortunate is that the determining factor in the recruitment process is actually just ‘paper’ qualification which, given developments in our environment today can be “obtained” by just about anyone and by any means.
We therefore urge the NUC to re-assess itself and get into the proper mode by first cleansing its own stable