Worried by the dearth of research and low interest in post graduate studies in the nation’s universities, the federal government has said all lecturers and academicians in the system must obtain doctorate degrees.
It described as appalling the situation uncovered by the NEEDS assessment of universities where about 57 per cent of the 36,000 lecturers do not possess doctorate degrees.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, speaking at the opening of a retreat for the governing councils of all public universities in Abuja yesterday, said this development was not good for the education system.
Anyim, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary for Special Duties in his office, Dr. Jamila Shuara, also lamented that there is a low number of post graduate students in the system with just three per cent of students studying for a Masters degree and two per cent undergoing doctoral studies.
The SGF appealed to the unions in the tertiary education system to embrace dialogue options for dispute resolution instead of the incessant strikes, which the system has now been known for.
“The instability caused by the strikes, have lowered the perception of certificates issued by Nigerian universities by foreign institution and has also discouraged enrollment in post graduate studies.
“FG is committed to university autonomy and would not interfere with the councils except where their actions or inactions are detrimental to the universities,” Anyim added.
The Minister for Education, Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufa’i, in her address, warned the councils against frivolous awards of honorary degrees owing from the situation where many of the awardees turn convocations to political rallies and jamborees.
In another development, the National Universities Commission (NUC) working with the University of North Texas, US have commenced the training of Nigerian academics on Specialist in Ageing Certificate Programme as part of efforts to address the challenges of population
The two-week programme is currently holding in Abuja.
Rufa’i said the population of Nigeria’s elderly persons which is currently estimated to be almost eight million would reach 16 million by the year 2030, citing figures from the National Population Commission (NPC).
She commended the efforts of the Executive Director of Dave Omokaro Foundation/Visiting Scholar at NUC, Dr. Emem Omokaro, whose works in the promotion of ageing studies led to the initiative.