Less than 60 per cent of academic staff in the nation’s 143 universities possessed doctorate degrees – a minimum qualification requirement to teach, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has said.
The Commission expressed concern that the perennial problem had direct bearing on the quality and accreditation status of academic programmes in the Nigerian University System (NUS).
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, disclosed this as guest lecturer at an academic interactive colloquium in honour of the University of Benin staff appointed as heads of federal and state government parastatal.
The lecture has as its theme: “Nigerian Universities, “Thinking Outside the Box to Embrace Innovative and Positive Change.”
Rasheed, who was represented by a Director of Research in the Commission, Dr. Suleiman Ramah, however, attributed the development “to the long average completion time for master’s and doctoral degrees in Nigerian varsities” which, according to him, ranges from five to seven years and fie to 15 years, respectively.
“One implication of this is the lean senior lectureship cadre in many disciplines with adverse consequences for succession and academic progressions,” he said.
The NUC boss said it was in recognition of this perennial problem that the capacity building and staff development funds were set aside as part of the Needs assessment intervention.
“And these funds have enabled scores of academic staff in the NUS to obtain master’s and doctorate degrees in Nigerian and overseas universities.”
On the colloquium topic: “Think outside the Box,” Rasheed lamented the inability of universities to generate “serious endowment fund and investments capable of financing its recurrent expenditure.”
He advised vice-chancellors of tertiary institutions to “begin to see fund raising and mobilisation as an integral part of their jobs in response to the realities of today.”
Earlier, in his address, Vice Chancellor of UNIBEN, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, said the university was a resource-based institution, adding that “about 17 staffers have been appointed into high level positions between 2015 and 2016.”
Orumwense listed such positions to include: Minister, Vice Chancellors, Registrar, Bursar, Provost, Rector and permanent secretary to federal government ministry.