Academic journal article Education

Academic Staff Turnover in Nigerian Universities (1990-1997)

Academic journal article Education

Academic Staff Turnover in Nigerian Universities (1990-1997)

Article excerpt

Background of the Study

University education, in contemporary times the world over, is becoming an exceedingly complex enterprise. This complexity requires a high degree of competence and proven scholarship from the university academic staff in particular and the entire staff in general. This is so because universities, by their unique nature are expected to be a repository of the most specialized and skilled intellectuals. They serve as storehouses of knowledge for nurturing the manpower needs of the nation and hence, for satisfying the aspirations of the people for a good, and humane society.

Central to the realisation of the university education goals and objectives are the academic staff whose roles are crucial. Academic staff their number, quality and their effectiveness make the difference in university education production function.

The Nigerian University system has been in a high state of anxiety and frequent crises of different types and intensity. There are crises of internal governance and control, nepotism, ethnic chauvinism and favouritism, philosophy and mission, under-funding and shortage of facilities and equipment, crises of conditions of service and industrial unrest, brain-drain and staff turnover. Of all the crises, those of scarce resources, under-funding, brain-drain and staff turnover have been identified as most crucial and central. Okunrotifa (1982): NUC (1995). Nwadiani (1999).

It would appear, however, that these problems are not peculiar to Nigeria, but general to the African continent. For example, Ekong (1995) in his address at the Association of African Universities conference of Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities expressed deep feelings of apprehension about the on-going state of hostility between governments and the academic communities in many countries of Africa.

The (AAU conference of 1995) specifically and heavily censored Nigeria, Kenya and Cote d'Ivorie among other countries where higher education appear to have suffered most due to ... under-funding and subsequent reduction of expenditure on a variety of educational inputs. In Nigeria the problem has been so acute that money and facilities for teaching and research are either not available or are in acute shortage. Nwankwo (1992:207) expressed this when he said that:

 
   Human and material resources inadequacy 
   is not a new phenomenon in 
   tertiary education systems management. 
 
   What is perhaps novel is the persistent 
   incapacity (or reluctance) of 
   such a system, specifically in Nigeria, 
   to respond effectively to the 
   situation. 

Of all the inputs into the Nigerian university system, the human resource would appear to be worst affected as the university staff are paid salaries which cannot take care of their basic needs. In fact, there is "the despondence and poverty that seem to envelope and which promise to obliterate the committed university teacher" (Alele-Williams 1992). The university teacher, more than anyone else, requires a peaceful and conducive working environment to attain a healthy and efficient mind as the beacon of enlightenment. Regrettably, however, the university system and all agents of society required for university management are unable to provide the Nigerian academic with a conducive working environment and basic facilities. The salaries and general conditions of service are uninspiring and unmotivating while the attainment of the basic necessities of life has become a mirage to the dedicated university teacher (ASUU, 1993, 1994). All efforts to improve the status and conditions of service of the university staff since the Udoji award, through the 1990s, seem not to have yielded the desired results. For instance, the series of commissions set up by governments like the Cookey Commission of 1981 and its salary review (university salary scale--USS) and the elongation of the USS; and the Longe Commission of 1990 did not quite alleviate the poor conditions of the university teacher. …

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