The Association of Nigerian University Professional Administrators (ANUPA) last Monday held a two-day training workshop for Senior Assistant Registrars and Deputy Directors of Nigerian University System (NUS) with the theme: Scaling the Heights, Creativity and Innovation as Veritable Tools. The training was done to sharpen their Skills for Maximum Productivity.
The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR was the keynote speaker at the occasion chaired by the Association’s Chairman, Barrister I. Igwe at Merit Award House, Abuja.
Speaking on the topic, ‘The Challenges of University Administration in the Economic Recession’, the Executive Secretary, NUC, said that most federal universities were currently undergoing financial challenges due to dwindling economic resources. This, he said, had resulted in the shortfalls of its allocations, especially on recurrent expenditure. He said that this had generated serious tension in the institutions and hardship on the staff as well as making planning in the universities very difficult.
He said that the situation was partly necessitated by the inability of the university system to migrate to the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), adding that government was working at resolving the challenge. He noted that some universities faced economic challenge occasioned by the overbearing external pressures on the Chief Executives to recruit more staff that were not needed by the university thereby over stretching the budget of the institution. This, he said, had contributed in making some universities unable to pay full salaries of their staff, describing the type of salary as ‘amputated salary’ or 75% salary.
Professor Rasheed stated that education was a capital intensive project that could only be undertaken by serious minded individuals with passion to promote social, political, cultural religious ideology for the betterment of the society. This, he said, informed the reason why, more often than not, universities all over the world were mainly established by faith-based organisations, foundation and few dedicated personalities. He cautioned individuals who wished to establish a university for the sole purpose of making more and robust returns to consider venturing into other business as venturing into a university could frustrate such an individual.
The Executive Secretary observed that Harvard University had more monry than some countries budget dedicated for cutting edge world class research. He charged all universities, Federal, State and Private, to contribute more in providing quality education to the country, saying that appropriate measures should be taken to prevent a situation where parents would be discouraged from sending their children and wards to public universities like the case with primary and secondary schools in the country.
Professor Rasheed gave a historical evolution of the NUS beginning from the Yaba College of Technology in 1934, to the Willinks Report of 1943 that made provision for the establishment of the University College, London, which gave birth to the University of Ibadan in 1948, to Ashby Commission that saw the creation of the first generation universities; University of Nigeria, Nssukka; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Obafemi Awolowo, University, IIe- Ife, and later the University of Lagos. Currently, according to him, Nigeria has a total of 153 universities comprising 40 Federal, 45 State and 68 Private Universities.
The NUC Scribe allayed the fears of the participants on the creation many private universities in Nigeria. The motive had been to provide other avenue for access to university education in Nigeria. He added that knowledge and research remained key to any societal growth and development globally. It was on this note, he disclosed that the Commission was currently processing over 200 applications for the establishment of private universities, adding that with over 1.5 million applicants for university education, there was the need to expand access through the establishment of more universities. He said that the Commission was encouraging the establishment of smaller institutions in terms of land size with quality human and material resources that would be purely professional and globally comparable to the likes of Harvard, Oxford, and other world ranking universities. He maintained that the UK government still funded universities in spite of huge fund being generated by the universities. He said that China University has over 45,000 Ph.D students while Bangladesh and Argentina also have over 1,000 universities each.
The Executive Secretary commended the dedication and sacrifice of the Registrars who were the heart of the university administration, as professional administrators, charging them to be deeply knowledgeable and be informed about the Laws, Conventions practices and workings of the NUS, in order to be adequately relevant. He advised them to be courageous and honest in relating with their Vice-Chancellors. He added that as Secretaries of Senate and Council, the minutes of meetings and procedures must be properly and adequately documented, adding that the minutes were the most important element that protects the system and actors in the event of crisis.
In her lecture, the Guest Speaker and former Registrar of the University of Ibadan, Chief (Mrs) Moji Ladipo, while delivering her lecture: Academic Ceremonies in universities, A critical Role for Senior Administrative officers, charged Registrars to protect the sanctity and tradition of the university system. She said Registrars were the official Masters of Ceremonies of all Convocations, adding that they were expected to ensure the proper coordination, orderliness, proper robing of the convocation gown and be mindful of exact and proper titles of degrees in order to preserve the sanctity of the university.
In her conclusion, she encouraged the Registrars to work with their Vice-Chancellors to restore the age-long university tradition.
In attendance at the Workshop were representatives of Federal, State and Private Universities. The Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Director Management Support Services, Barrister Victor Onuoha and Deputy Director, Information, Mr. Haruna Ajo.