Friday, February 19, 2016 10:13 am
Former Registrar of the Ekiti State University, Dr. Omojola Awosusi, makes a case for proper funding of Nigerian universities as well as training and retraining of University administrators in technology that will drive the system in which they work
BY STEPHEN OLUFEMI ONI/ Ilorin
Former Registrar of the Ekiti state University, Dr. Omojola Awosusi, has decried the poor and inadequate funding of universities in Nigeria, urging a reversal of the trend in order to make universities in the country globally attractive and competitive.
Awolusi, who recently was the guest lecturer at the maiden Annual Lecture Series of the University of Ilorin and spoke on “The University of the Future: Challenges and Prospects for the University Administrator”, lamented that the funding of universities in the country has always been below the expectations of the stakeholders, adding that going by cross-country comparison, Nigeria is ranked 20th in terms of national budget allocation for education.
He said: “ Findings of A. O. Bamiro in 2014 on funding for universities and university education in Nigeria revealed that despite the insistence of National ASUU that government should reserve 26% of its budget allocation to the education sector, the Nigerian government has consistently been unable to do so.”
The other problem of funding, according to the guest lecturer, is that when government allocates money, the bulk of the money is used to finance the personnel cost and a few other recurrent items, leaving a paltry sum for capital development. “In 2012 and 2013, the recurrent allocation accounted for 93 and 92% of the federal government allocation to the federal universities respectively, leaving less than 10% for capital development,” he lamented.
While noting that the 2012 allocation doubled that of 2009, Awolusi said the impact on infrastructural development was still minimal because the bulk of the money was utilised for the implementation of the 2009 agreement with its attendant heavy salary bill and gargantuan aggregate bill of earned allowances.
While acknowledging that the NEEDS Assessment allocation has providentially come to the rescue by adding some low-single billions of Naira to the respective Universities for the upgrading of their facilities, the guest lecturer opined that the university of the future would need to compete vigorously for money, students and grants, adding that it is gratifying that today, the universities have realised that they can no longer continue to rely solely on the government for sustenance, especially in the face of global oil crisis and when the nation’s economic fortunes have plummeted.
On the challenges facing the administrators of today and which would create panic, if not embarrassment, for them in the university of the future, Awosusi lamented that a considerable number of staff in the university administration still have problems with the use of Microsoft Word, saying the university of the future would shock this category of people.
For administrators to function effectively in the University of the future, he stressed the need to train and retrain them in the technology that would drive the system in which they work. On this, he said the University of Ilorin has done well in terms of ICT infrastructure assistance with the training of its administrative officers in the area of Soft Technical, Attitude Communication Skills, urging the University to partner with national and regional bodies to assist with the training of the administrative officers of the University.
He said: “The use of technology will speed up university administration of the future, as the Registrar will get his directive down the line faster and obtain feedback speedily. Skype is a face-to-face talking device and a tool that would be highly valuable.”
Awosusi, who noted that APER format that is being used to assess performance has lost its relevance, recommended 360 degree feedback for future performance. This, he said, is a mechanism that would allow the trio of the management, colleagues on the same or equivalent rank and subordinates to assess an individual administrator. More importantly, he added, whatsoever degree of performance that is expected from the worker, he should be told at the beginning of the year and he should be trained and given necessary tools to make the desired achievements.
In his address, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdul Ganiyu Ambali, enjoined the staff of the university to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the administration to develop themselves and the system, adding that “the only way to compensate the time, energy and other resources invested in these programmes is to maximise their use.”
To Ambali, University of Ilorin is a typical University of the future having embraced innovation and also welcomed technology, along with its traditional mandate, saying “the time is now and the future is here to rise to the occasion of creating an enabling environment for the delivery of the University goods for the benefits of man and advancement of humanity.”
In his welcome address, the Registrar, University of Ilorin, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi, who eulogised the Vice Chancellor for giving a new impetus to the training and retraining of staff, said 2015 witnessed unprecedented advancement in staff training and human capital development as a large number of staff attended various conferences, seminars and workshops.
Obafemi, who noted that the University administration is still faced with a lot of challenges which requires aggressive solutions, opined that, with this lecture, the administrative staff would be better equipped to drive the University and set it on the path of strategic transformation.