Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Pius Anyim Pius, weekend, in Sokoto State, lamented the twin challenge of inadequate number and low quality of lecturers in the Nigerian universities.
He also noted that inadequate accommodation in the Nigerian Universities, which compels students to stay outside the campuses, made them vulnerable to cultism and other social vices.
The SGF while delivering a paper entitled: "University Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospect" at a convocation lecture in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, admitted that, funding will always be a challenge in Nigerian Universities because of scarce resources .
While lamenting that there are more non-teaching staff in the Nigerian Universities than the teaching staff, Senator Anyim said, "There are 37,507 academic staff in our public Universities. Out of this number, only 28,128 (75 per cet) are employed on full time bases. This means that, 9,376 (25 per cent) are engaged as Visiting, Adjunct, Sabbatical and Contract staff".
Continuing, he said, "23,030 (61.0 per cent) are employed in Federal Universities while 14,474 (39.0 per cent) teach in State Universities. In terms of their academic qualifications, the SGF lamented that, "57 per cent of lecturers have no PhD. These figures clearly illustrate the twin challenges of adequacy and quality of lectures. The system needs more teachers while there is the urgent need to upgrade the qualifications of the majority who are under-qualified", the SGF noted.
The SGF also noted that there are 124 Universities in Nigerian now. He added that, "74 of them are public while the rest are private. Of the 74 public Universities only but 13 are dedicated to Science and Technology. (five Federal, eight States). Two Universities of Education (both State owned) three Universities of Agriculture (All of them Federal) two Defence/Security Universities (both of them Federal) one Petroleum University (Federal) and 53 conventional Universities (26 Federal, 27 States)", the SGF noted.
He also noted that, in President Goodluck Jonathan's effort towards upgrading the quality of Nigerian tertiary institutions' lecturers, he directed the Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to intervene in that regard. He also stated that, through its Academic Staff Training and Development Programme no fewer than 5,867 lecturers have so far been sponsored for post-graduate studies. "Out of this number, some 1,375 lecturers have been sponsored overseas while the rest are pursuing their higher degrees in Nigerian Universities", he said.
Dignitaries at the occasion include Vice Chancellors from Sokoto State University, Tafawa Balewa University, Bayero University Kano, Executive Secretary of Nigerian Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okoji and Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko among others.