The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, Prof Mohammad Haruna, has called for the decentralization of the University Salary Structure.

Prof Haruna who made his views known in Ahmadu Bello University, ABU,  Zaria, at the launch of four books and celebration of excellence by Prof. Aminu Ladan Sharehu, a Professor of Public Administration, contended that lecturers should negotiate on case-by-case basis with the institution’s Governing Council.

According to him, “Let me advocate that university salary structure and indeed of all tertiary institutions should be decentralized in such a way that lecturers are paid for productivity hours. Salaries should be negotiated on case-by-case basis with the Governing Council and according to the capacity and performance of the lecturers and the universities.

“Payment of living wages is important, but it does not make sense to pay the uniform salaries for lecturers in Damaturu, Birnin Kebbi, Lagos and Port Harcourt where cost of living is not the same. Lecturers should be paid by contact hours and remunerated according to the impact of their output. They can earn more than a Vice Chancellor, or political office holders if their works attract funding from private sector or other sources or impact attract glories to their institutions.

“By these, I am advocating decentralized unions both Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU are out of tune with the reality. Each institution should have its local union having contract with the Governing Council.

As an academician myself, let me confess that the attitude of some teaching staff leaves much to be desired. Some lecturers are not even qualified or suitable to teach courses assigned to them. Most have no professional teaching qualification. Most have no passion for teaching and are in the profession only as ‘lasting job alternative.

“I have seen teachers who recycle the lesson notes given to them when they were students three to four decades earlier. How can the products of such process be relevant in today’s dynamic and digital world? Lecturers are not accountable in most public institutions for absenteeism and for failure to adhere to planned timetable and for non-execution of practical structured in their syllabus. Corruption and sexual harassment are generally unchecked leading to half-baked graduates.

“Our universities are not solving any socio-economic challenges of the communities in their catchment areas and have no linkages with industries and relevant research organizations. Most cannot attract any research fund because need-oriented research and market driven research is not in their culture. I bet some lecturers can fail the very exam they are setting for their students.

“Lecturers of higher institutions no longer spend vacations in the industries to update their knowledge. What is disheartening is that graduation days or period of many bright students are sometimes unreasonably delayed by lazy and non-supervised lecturers with negative consequences on the career progression of affected students especially in ABU. The problems are many.”

He faulted the challenges facing ABU as a result of the recent strike, saying “The case of ABU that cannot resume academic activities immediately after the strike is called off is worrisome. ABU has lost many academic years and any rush to catch up can only end in production of half-baked graduates. Generally, Unemployment rate will continue to grow. Thousands of unemployable and unskilled but half-baked graduates are turned out annually in Nigeria.”

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