Unqualified lecturers hurting the university system – ASUU

Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President (Photo: Channels TV)

National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi has criticise the recruitment of unqualified persons as lecturers into the university.

He expressed worries that some persons not qualified to teach had found their way into the system.

Ogunyemi, a professor, made this known at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum held on Sunday in Abuja.

He said some lecturers have no business in the classrooms but they found their way in due to political interference.

In his words, “You find that some lecturers probably have no business being in the universities but you know politics has done so much damage to us that sometimes merit is sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity and political connections.

“We hope that we shall restore the credibility of the system as we have been trying to argue over the years. A key step to achieving that is for government to create the enabling environment for us to go back to the renegotiation table.

“We need to talk more so that we can come up with a new agreement package that will help us in addressing our universities shortcomings in no time.”

He noted that such recruitment had done a lot of damage to the university system as not all people in the class are able to teach.

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“Teaching is all about passion and not about preference of any sort. It is something natural.”

He added that ASUU would continue to advocate for restoration, resuscitation and repositioning of the university system in order to reclaim its enviable position.

Alternative to IPPIS

The Olabisi Onabanjo University don also justified why the union was keen on creating an alternative platform to the government managed Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

EduCeleb.com had reported in November that the university teacher’s union was creating the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), an alternative to IPPIS.

Ogunyemi corrected the impression that the union’s opposition to the IPPIS platform for the payment of workers’ wages, was an endorsement of corruption.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in October directed all government employees to be enrolled into IPPIS to ensure accountability and curb corruption in the system. But ASUU has consistently resist the move even after the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmad Idris released a timeline for enrollment of university staff members.

Ogunyemi called for the implementation of UTAS rather than the IPPIS for the former is resident in universities rather than the latter directly controlled by government.

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“In February 2014, after much debate about IPPIS, we told the government our reservations about IPPIS and the uniqueness of the universities.

“We thought they agreed with us; they said we should nominate three people and they will also nominate three persons; and then we should come up with a platform that will be acceptable to ASUU.

“We did not hear anything from them until in July 2019 when ASUU members were asked to enroll into the IPPIS.

“The platform we had in mind is the one we have now started because they pushed us to the point of taking on the challenge.

“ASUU will sponsor the development of that platform which we call University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

“UTAS came about as a way of showing them that we are not against the war against corruption; that ASUU fully supports any step that will nip corruption in the bud,’’ he said.

Ogunyemi, however, said that the union was not in support of efforts to move the universities back the into core civil service.

He also explained how UTAS works.

“UTAS will give government the opportunity to control and monitor activities and progress of the universities.

“The difference between what they are doing now and UTAS is that what they are doing now is just government information system for payment.

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“They just send the wage bill for universities into the university account and they ask them to pay and they monitor.

“In the case of UTAS, all the personnel information and the payroll system will be uploaded and there are about five components which we have segmented and developed.

“Not everybody will have access to all of these, so we are saying that the best way to ensure university autonomy is to develop a system that will be resident in the university; but those in government can have access to control and monitor it.

“This will secure and safeguard the autonomy of the universities and that will also give government the opportunity to monitor what is going on in the system, as regularly as they want to.

“If we had reached an agreement on this matter in 2014, we wouldn’t be discussing IPPIS now.”

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