THE Federal Government has directed all the first generation universities in the country to focus
more on
postgraduate programmes, President Goodluck Jonathan who has pledged to offer scholarship
to about 500
university graduates to pursue their masters and PhD programmes in Nigerian universities and
overseas, as part
of efforts to address the challenge of inadequate qualified academic staff in the university
system come year.
Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, made
this known in Abuja,
on Monday 3rd sept 2012, while speaking at a roundtable on Cross Border Higher Education
Strategic Partnership,
organised by the commission and British Council. The universities are University of Ibadan (UI);
University of
Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN); Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife; University of Lagos and
Ahmadu Bello
University (ABU), Zaria. Professor Okojie lamented that recent needs assessment of Nigerian
universities revealed
that more than 60 per cent academic staff are without PhD, a development, he said, must be
checked. He
maintained that PhD degree was required for an individual to be considered a full fledged
academic in good
standing. As part of the efforts to deal with the problem, Okojie said the Federal Government,
through the
commission, had ordered the first generation universities to concentrate more resources and
effort on
postgraduate programmes, with less emphasis on the undergraduate programmes, so as to fast
track the
production of postgraduate students, especially PhD holders. He added that the government
had, through Tertiary
Education Trust Fund (TETfund), set up a funding mechanism under the Teacher Development
and Training
programme, to fully sponsor academic staff to pursue masters and PhD programmes in Nigeria
and overseas.
The NUC boss, however, cautioned the governors of Kano and Osun states over sponsoring
many students to one
country for higher qualifications which, it noted, would not promote diversity of knowledge. The
Deputy Director of
British Council, Amir Ramzan, noted that there were many Nigerian lecturers without PhD
degrees, adding that
cross border tertiary education strategic partnership could help solve the problem.

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