We Lack Facilities To Enable Sound Research In Institutions – ASUU Chairman
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) President, Biodun Ogunyemi, has disclosed lack of facilities; poor teaching environment and absence of incentives are some of the factors responsible for the dearth of research in Nigerian institutions.
Prof. Ogunyemi was reacting to the National Universities Commission (NUC) claim that about N3 billion made available under the national research fund at Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is yet to be accessed by academics in the country.
But the ASUU President reiterated that the grant is not been accessed because the facilities necessary to facilitate a sound and effective research are not available.
He said, “Of course there are very competent and experienced researchers and scholars in our universities, and the issue now would be; do we have the facilities for cutting-edge research? People can be discouraged even from applying when they know that there are no state-of-the-art facilities, which is one of the issues we have been raising.”
“That our libraries should be stocked and laboratories properly equipped, we should bring our libraries and laboratories up to the standard that people can do meaningful research. When you don’t have facilities, of course, one would be discouraged, so the element of discouragement is there which we cannot deny.”
“There are also factors that may not allow academics to actually approach grant-giving institutions and agencies especially in our circumstances of need. The motivation again is not there; do we really have enough hands to do the work?
“Most of our colleagues now teach all round the year and they even have to agitate to go on leave. In a regular and normal system, it is expected that university teachers have 56 days annual leave, 26 out of which should be for research, to conceptualize your research but we have been running seamless sessions in our campuses and people may not really have enough time to conceptualize.”
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On the claims by the NUC that the funds are not been accessed because of the lack of academics ability to write research proposals that could secure them grants, Ogunyemi stated that he would not deny it because there were some people who were brought into the system at one point or the other who is not qualified to be in the system.
Ogunyemi, however, reiterated that the association members who possess the capacity to actually win these grants. He said, “In the universities now, we have different categories of lecturers, in the past, people used to come back to the university based on merit but a time came when the process of employment to universities became bastardised, maybe these set of people lack the capacity, we cannot fully deny that because when you bring people that do not merit the appointment, the deficiency would show sooner or later and we have been engaging government to actually address these dimension of appointments into the university system without following the established procedures.
“But when you remove those categories of staffs, we have competent academics who have the capacity.
“While the best way to measure productivity is research; we need to view it against the environment where they are working. People are less attracted to the grant because the facilities for doing some of these things are not there,’’ he said
In order to curb these problems, The ASUU President said, “First, we need to sanitize the system and secondly, we need to build the capacity of those who are there and make the environment conducive.