A former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof Olufemi Bamiro, has described the ongoing disagreement between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities over an appropriate payment system for lecturers as a sign that the nation’s university system is poorly managed.
Bamiro said the remuneration of university workers through a government ministry showed that the tertiary institutions lacked the autonomy needed to perform and meet global standards.
The former UI VC spoke during an interview with our correspondent while reacting to the ongoing strike by ASUU and the union’s insistence on the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System deployed by the government.
“Personally, what do UTAS and IPPIS signify? A poorly managed university system; how can the salary of a university worker come from somewhere in a ministry? Where is the autonomy?
It shows that the management of the university system is nothing to write home about. If a university does not have autonomy, how will it be able to perform to global standards? If there are problems in managing resources at the university level, the solution is not to use IPPIS,” he said.
Bamiro added, “ASUU said it had developed UTAS. Okay. What about the non-teaching staff union? They too have developed their own software which they call UGPPPM (University General Peculiar Payroll Payment System). Where will that be implemented?
“Is it at the ministry such that there would be people operating IPPIS, UTAS and UGPPPM? What chaos! If we have problems at the level of the universities, let us face them properly and solve them.”
The professor of engineering said while the move by the National Assembly to push for the establishment of new universities might be driven by the growing number of youths seeking admission, Nigeria lacked the requisite number of academics to run such institutions.
“Some new universities cannot boast of five or six professors, and many members of the academic staff don’t have PhDs. The move to create new universities is driven by the large number of people seeking admission into universities. But the question is: where do you get the academic personnel to drive the programmes?
“Not all state universities are well-funded but they keep creating more universities for political consideration. The difference between the state universities and the federal ones is that the states charge some tuition to sustain their operation but the same thing cannot be said about the federal universities which rely on the Federal Government for up to 90 per cent of their operations. That is why they (FG) can talk about IPPIS.”