Femi Makinde, Osogbo
The National Universities Commission has asked universities in the country to advertise the names of lecturers found guilty of sexual harassment in newspapers.
The Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Adamu Rasheed, said this on Monday during the 33rd conference of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities held at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State.
Rasheed noted that sexual harassment had become rampant in Nigerian universities. Calling for drastic measures to put an end to the problem, he said, “Sexual harassment is a major challenge in our universities and we must take a decisive action to curb it. Universities should be determined to curb this and we just have to be very serious about it.
“It is damaging our reputation and we must do everything to stamp it out. Whenever you sanction somebody, let their names be advertised in newspapers so that the public will be aware that they have been punished. This will stop them from taking advantage of our girls and boys in the universities.”
Speaking on the need for urgent reforms in Nigerian universities, he said the NUC would soon publish a directory of professors in all the institutions.
Adamu said, “Many professors have succeeded in cloning themselves into four or five in other universities. There are some who are promoting themselves as professors outside the universities and this is very serious. Some are not satisfied with their PhD and they just promote themselves to professorial positions. There are many of them in the university system.
“This directory will help the universities. If you want to appoint supervisors for your students, you can just open it to see the names of professors in the areas that you want. This will create credibility and transparency.”
He stressed that it was easy for some professors to lecture in more than one universities because they did not have more than two hours of engagements in their respective institutions.
Adamu also said that if universities followed the NUC recommendation of 20-hour engagement for professors per week and six hours for teaching strictly, it would be difficult for lecturers to avoid discharging their duties effectively.
The NUC secretary noted that First Class Bachelor’s degrees had become too common and some of the first class graduates could not defend their degrees.
He stated that although the number of first class graduates in private universities were higher than public universities, certain conditions that could make students excel in private varsities were absent in other universities.
The Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, who is also the Chairman of the association, urged his colleagues to embrace what he described as a “courageous vision of quality higher education”.
He urged them to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses particularly in research, quality of staff, funding and graduate employability.
Adeyewa said, “To our government, it is imperative to state the fact that education is not just preparation for life, it is life itself. Education is the most formidable weapon in the world. We are deliberately sentencing ourselves to a bleak future where our children and our economy are weak, unprotected and vulnerable.”
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