By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has tasked Nigerian universities on improved linkages with industries and relevant research organizations towards solving the socio-economic challenges in the communities.
Prof. Mohammad-Sani Haruna, Chief Executive of NASENI made the call during the public presentation of four books and celebration of excellence of Former Director-General, National Teachers’ Institute (NTI), Professor Aminu-Ladan Sharehu as Professor of Public Administration.
He lamented low linkages with industries and relevant research organizations by the institutions, adding that most of the institutions cannot attract funds for market driven research.
He advised lecturers of higher institutions to be spending vacations in the industries to update their knowledge and align themselves with the realities of the industries.
“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 a ‘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 a process be relevant in today’s dynamic and digital world?” He queried.
As part of the remedies for the challenges, NASENI boss advocated for a decentralized University Salary Structure of all tertiary institutions in such a way that lecturers are paid for productivity hours.
He said salaries should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the governing council and according to the capacity and performance of the lecturers and the universities.
“ Yes, payment of living wages is important, but it does not make sense to pay uniform salaries for lectures 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 work attracts funding from private sector or other sources or impact attracts glories to their institutions,’’ he said.
He also called on the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to commence a five-year programme of retooling tertiary education workshops and laboratories across the country with appropriate equipment.
According to him, retooling the workshops will make it possible for all students to acquire at least an occupational trade skill before graduation.