THE report of the Needs Assessment on Nigerian universities has shown that less than 50 per cent of their lecturers have doctorate degrees.
The National Universities Commission (NUC), which said this yesterday, added that inadequate teaching staff in the right mix and quality has negative effect on accreditation performance of universities.
Deputy Director, NUC, Ashafa Ladan, spoke for the commission in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at a public lecture organised to mark the first Founder’s Day celebration of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin.
The lecture was entitled: “The challenges of private universities’ proprietorship in Nigeria.”
Ladan warned that some private universities proprietors would “either have their operating licences suspended or undergo forensic auditing due to their failure to put in place proper structure for governance and administration as contained in their academic brief and the university law.”
The NUC director added that profit motive made some proprietors to violate procedures and requirements in an effort to begin lucrative and marketable courses before maturity period.
Said he: “The guidelines and requirements of NUC and other professional bodies place greater constraint on some proprietors as they would have preferred to employ poor quality teaching staff to maximise their profit.
“Most of the senior teaching staff in private universities are either employed on sabbatical, visiting or adjunct basis due essentially to difficulty in attracting quality staff at this level.
“The quality of teaching staff (senior lecturers and above) posed greater challenge with regards to mentoring, research and research leadership, effective linkages, journal publication and the general evaluation system of standing of the university.
“There is poor understanding of the concept of governance and management structure of the university by some proprietors, which poses a serious challenge. There is poor understanding of how university works/operates by some proprietors. Some proprietors are deliberately stubborn, viewing private universities as purely a business affair, which is not the case.
“Some private universities take off with bank loans and whatever is generated as revenue is shared between repayments of the loans and running the universities in an uncomfortable ratio. This challenge is compounded by the fact that private universities do not determine their carrying capacity. This often creates poor financial standing/position for the proprietors. And unsteady funding has negative impact on quality teaching, leading to production of poor quality graduates and accreditation performance.”
In his remark, Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed urged the nation’s private universities to promote academic excellence so that students can make valuable contributions to the country’s development.
Ahmed, who was represented by Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Abdulwahab Opakunle, added: “Nigeria’s advancement will be considerably enhanced when we imbibe excellence as a national ethic.”
The governor urged “private universities in Nigeria to continue to provide quality university education despite the challenges confronting them.
“As we are all aware, funding is a major challenge confronting universities all over the world – whether publicly owned or privately run.
“However, you are urged to identify innovative ways of overcoming these challenges so that private universities will become as reputable as their publicly owned precursors. I am confident that private universities in Nigeria have the capacity and capabilities to become centres of academic excellence and groundbreaking research.”