Prof Olufemi Bamiro, a former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, has termed the continuing dispute between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities over a suitable payment scheme for lecturers as an evidence that the country’s university system is mismanaged.
According to Bamiro, the fact that university employees are paid by a government ministry demonstrates that tertiary institutions lack the autonomy needed to function and match global standards.
During an interview with our correspondent, the former UI VC spoke about the present ASUU strike and the union’s insistence on using the University Transparency and Accountability Solution instead of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
“What do UTAS and IPPIS mean to you personally?” How might a university employee’s compensation originate from anywhere in a ministry in a badly run university system? Where is the independence?
“It demonstrates that the university system’s management isn’t up to par.” How will a university be able to perform to global standards if it lacks autonomy? “The solution is not to adopt IPPIS if there are problems managing resources at the university level,” he stated.
“ASUU declared it had created UTAS,” Bamiro continued. Okay. What about the union representing non-teaching staff? They, too, have created their own program, dubbed UGPPPM (University General Peculiar Payroll Payment System). What will be the location of this implementation?
“Do you know if there are persons working on IPPIS, UTAS, and UGPPPM at the ministry?” What a shambles! If there are issues at the university level, let us address them properly and find solutions.”
While the National Assembly’s demand for the formation of additional universities may be motivated by the growing number of young people seeking admission, the professor of engineering believes Nigeria lacks the necessary number of academics to administer such institutions.
“Now, I believe we have over 200 universities,” Bamiro continued, “but the tragedy is that we do not have enough academic human capital to administer all of them.” We are unable to recruit sufficient numbers of personnel from outside the country.
“Some new universities have only five or six professors, and many academic staff members lack a PhD.” The large number of people seeking university admission is driving the move to establish new universities. The challenge is, where do you find the academics who will steer the programs?
“While not all state colleges are well-funded, they continue to build more campuses for political reasons.” The difference between state universities and federal universities is that state universities charge some tuition to support their operations, but federal universities rely on the federal government for up to 90% of their operations. That is why they (FG) are allowed to discuss IPPIS.”