THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says no fewer than 100,000 lecturers were needed to beef up academic activities in the nation’s public universities.
Union’s president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, in Lagos.
Ogunyemi made the revelation against the backdrop of worries being expressed by education stakeholders on the dearth of academic staff in the country’s tertiary institutions.
According to him, going by the report of the 2012 NEEDS assessment survey sponsored by the Federal Government, there were 37,504 academics in the public university system.
He said 70,000 lecturers were needed at that time to serve the universities.
“From available records, the system had 37,504 academics during the 2012 NEEDS assessment of universities sponsored by the Federal Government.
“This is grossly inadequate as the system is in need of 100,000 personnel for academic workforce.
“Out of the 37,504 lecturers in the system as at 2012, only 40 per cent of them had Ph.Ds.
“Today, we have more universities and this means that to actualise the mandate given to them (universities) and remain relevant, the system will need not less than 100,000 lecturers,’’ he said.
According to him, the development was worrisome and called for concern as it was a major threat to government’s quest for national transformation and development.
“This is one thing we, as members of ASUU, have been engaging successive governments about.
“Today, we have less than 40,000 lecturers in the entire university system, which is grossly inadequate.
“There has not been provision for enough manpower over the years in tertiary institutions,’’ he said.
The unionist recalled that at a time, even the National Universities Commission (NUC) also came up with an estimate of 60,000 lecturers needed for the university sector alone.
He said that as that period, the country had less than 20,000 lecturers in the system.
“This is made worse today with the proliferation of private universities in the country.
“The demand is more than what the requirement was, four years back,’’ Ogunyemi said.
He stressed that the union was not against the establishment of more universities, but in doing so, “there is need to ensure that proper feasibility studies were carried out and requirements met before establishing them.”
Ogunyemi recalled that when the union started engaging the Federal Government on some of the challenges noticed in the system in 1992, one of the main issues was on how to tackle brain drain.
According to him, brain drain was still a major concern.
Ogunyemi noted that most scholars had been frustrated out of the system due to poor operational environment.