Universities in Nigeria have 100,000 lecturers for 2.1 million students ― NUC

•To release new curriculum minimum standards soon

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has revealed that Nigeria currently has only 100,000 academic staff members teaching and supervising about 2.1 million students in universities across the country.

This is even as the Commission said the new Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS), being developed by the Commission would soon be released.

NUC made the disclosures in its latest Weekly Bulletin, obtained on Tuesday in Abuja.

Deputy Executive Secretary, Administration, NUC, Mr Chris Maiyaki, in the Bulletin, lamented the gross shortage of lecturers in the University system and called for universities to be exempted from the Federal Government’s circular on new employment to enable the institutions to recruit additional lecturers.

He explained that the Commission was supervising over 200 universities consisting of 48 belonging to the Federal Government; 54 states and 99 private institutions.

He said: “The entire system has about 2.1 million students and staff strength of about 170,000 non-teaching and 100,000 academic staff.

“Some of the problems facing the system include increased running cost, meagre budgetary allocations, issue of power shortages and shortages of manpower.

“There is a need for universities to be isolated from the Federal Government’s circular on an embargo on new employment because of the peculiarity and distinctive nature of the universities in order for them to keep up the pace in attaining comparable standards with their counterparts globally.

“We also have incessant interference in the NUC’s functions by some professional bodies and associations, which have continued to issue needless instructions to universities.

“Other challenges in the Nigerian university system include the issue of digital response to COVID-19 lockdown.”

Maiyaki recalled that 2020 was an unusual year for everyone as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the whole world, saying Nigerian universities were forced to start embracing the use of technology in knowledge delivery.

He explained that the advent of coronavirus had enabled Nigerian universities to begin to explore the dual-mode of teaching with more institutions developing and expanding their digital hub to commence extensive use of the online platform.

“Within the period, the NUC had been conducting some activities, which included major curriculum review, assessment of universities on their E-Learning requirements, strengthening of quality assurance mechanism as well as fortifying modern methods of data processing and retrieval,” Maiyaki added.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, disclosed that the new Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS), being developed by the Commission would soon be released.

He noted a committee of experts were working on the document in diverse disciplines aimed at ensuring that academic programmes of the Nigerian University System (NUS) become more globally competitive.

While reviewing the activities of the Commission in the past year, Rasheed recalled that following the 2018-2023 repositioning agenda of NUC, the university system had in the past five years, been undergoing a series of reforms aimed at revitalising it.

NUC boss noted that in achieving the set goals, the Commission has continued to stay focused on reforming the system through curriculum reengineering, the introduction of new programmes, unbundling of some programmes and undertaking routine accreditation exercises and resource verification as well as research and innovation.

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