ASUU blames

ASUU blames ‘Japa’ as teacher shortage hits schools

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has attributed the severe staff shortage in universities in Nigeria to ‘Japa syndrome’ as thousands of lecturers have left the country in search of greener pastures in foreign lands.

In an interview with The Punch, Union said there is currently a high number of reforms in Nigeria’s universities.

ASUU of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, said about 100 teachers had left the university, while the union of the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara, disclosed that the institution needed about 1,000 teachers to fill the vacancies created by those who had left .

The union of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, said over 350 academic vacancies were available in the institution, while 27 lecturers left two faculties of the University of Lagos, while 100 workers of the University of Uyo traveled out of the country.

The union disclosed that there were about 500 academic vacancies at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, while academic and non-academic staff at the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology were leaving the country.

The President of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Ondo State, Dr. Rotimi Olorunsola, said many staff of the institution, both academic and non-academic, had left the university.

Olorunsola said: “Yes, some Japa (travelled out of the country), both academic and non-academic personnel.”

The Head of Media and Protocol at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Mr. Victor Akinpelumi, has confirmed that many workers of the institution have left the institution.

“It is true that many workers, both academic and non-academic, have dropped out of university, but as I am now, I cannot give a specific number. I can confirm that many university workers are gone,” he said.

The President of ASUU, University of Benin, Dr. Ray Chikogu, said the lack of staff at UNIBEN and other universities was a long-standing problem due to the employment embargo by the Federal Government.

He said this constituted undue government interference in the functioning of universities, especially as it affected the recruitment and promotion of staff.

He said: “The teaching staff department is extremely understaffed. For a long time, academic staff were overburdened with work at the University of Benin and many other universities in the country.

“This has been a problem for several years because of the embargo on employment at federal universities and the staff recruitment process is very complicated. The university must obtain authorization from the head of the service through the office of the accountant general.

“This is interference by the Federal Government in the school’s internal affairs. What should have been handled by university senates and councils has now been centralized to the point that everything has become confused in the university system. It’s a very sad situation.

“Many are retiring and not being replaced and due to the unfavorable conditions in which many teachers work, they have left their jobs and traveled abroad in search of greener pastures, worsening the major problem of brain drain , which is affecting the university system and nothing is being done about it. It appears that the Federal Government is deliberately stifling the system for reasons best known to it.”

The President of ASUU at the Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State, Dr. Shehu El-rasheed, said there were many vacancies in the varsity due to bureaucratic bottlenecks.

He said: “There are many vacancies but filling them has become very difficult due to difficult bureaucratic bottlenecks. A vice-chancellor needs to obtain clearance from around seven Federal Government agencies and parastatals before a single employee is recruited.

“Senior teachers are retiring and there are no replacements. At FUK, academic staff are leaving in large numbers to countries such as Malaysia, Oman, New Zealand and the USA.”

El-Rasheed noted that inadequate academic staff at FUK may be associated with inadequate funding, “by the Federal Government and the bureaucratic bottlenecks brought by IPPIS; poor pay and adverse economic conditions.”

The PPI was introduced by the Federal Government a few years ago as part of measures to resolve the problem of ghost workers and public servants receiving multiple salaries.

However, many workers at universities are not comfortable with the initiative, as it does not allow institutions to employ workers, even when these universities are severely understaffed.


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