No prejudice on staff recruitment – VC Dutsin-Ma
You are the pioneer VC of this university, what are your significant achievements? We started academic activities in the 2011/2012 academic year and before taking over the leadership of the university, I had goals that I wanted to achieve. The first was to lay a foundation of a world class university that is driven by technology. The second goal is to promote excellence and to ensure that in whatever we do, there is equity, justice and fairness. And with few months to go from now, I can look back and say that I have been able to meet this objectives. The university was among the nine that were established and the first to graduate students. We are also ranked number one among the new universities. In fact, the world ranking of universities has placed this university as the 14th best university in Nigeria. So, we have established a world class university and we have trained and developed our staff without depending on any consultant. Our services are technology driven and service delivery is very efficient because we are the only university that releases exams results in two weeks. Students do registration online, processing of exams results is computer based while bursary and library services are online.
The academic programmes we offer here include arts, social sciences, management sciences, sciences, education and agriculture. We are preparing to start engineering and technology programmes next year. In specifics, we have English Language, history, science education, physical and health education, animal and soil sciences, crops and crop protection, fishery, political science, sociology, economics, accounting etc. All the programmes were accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and our students that have graduated have no problem of mobilization to NYSC.
The academic briefs of the universities have outlined when the various programmes will start and we have just finished with the first phase and going to the second phase, that is why we are bringing in engineering and technology courses. In this phase, law will come on board; in fact the Council and Senate have approved the establishment of these faculties. In the third phase, we are going to have environmental sciences, medicine and other key courses.
How have you been able to get the required number of academic staff to meet the demand of NUC?
Getting academic staff is challenging to most new universities including old Professor James O. Ayatse is the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State. He explains in this interview how the institution faced problems of attracting and retaining senior lecturers. He also gives details on the allegations of employment bias made against him by various interest groups in state. universities because some of their careers, we did not have any the old hands were moving to problem. The second challenge newer places. We faced that has been the laying of necessary challenge, especially at the senior infrastructure to be able to or professorial cadre and what run academic programmes. we did to be able to meet NUC Again, we faced staff housing accreditation was to attract some challenges as well as shortage senior academics to come on one of schools where staff will send year sabbatical leave as allowed their children to. Many have by the system and others to come refused to work with us because as visiting lecturers. NUC allows of these problems especially at four of such staff per programme the standard they want. and that was enough considering Now, petitions arise when what we already had on ground. people think that their
In terms of physical facilities, expectations are not met and you the challenge is that we are find them in public institutions still at the take- off campus, like ours. It will interest you to therefore the facilities here know that 56 per cent of the staff are not excellent that is why here are from the North-West we have full accreditation for region and 45.5 per cent are some programmes and interim from Katsina State. Benue State, accreditation for others. We are where I come from, has only 12 confident that before the end per cent and so, when people of the session, we’d move to complain about marginalization the permanent site and when I will really wonder because this the accreditation team comes is a federal institution and one in two years, we will have full state alone is contributing over accreditation. We did well in the 40 per cent. May be somebody areas of staffing and curriculum applied and was not employed but had challenges in physical and therefore he can author a structure. petition.
What is your view on funding Katsina has more than its fair and the recent government share of staff distribution and decision to adopt Single the lion’s share go to Dutsin-Ma Treasury Account (TSA)? local government area followed
When the universities by Katsina local government. were established, the federal In fact, there are some local government approved the takeoff government areas that have grants of N1.5 billion for each very little representation and we through the Tertiary Education are trying to address that. We Trust Fund (TETFund). We are working with the Federal didn’t have challenges in Character Commission on that. accessing the funds because I have a file in my office for we were able to put our paper petitions and I have even been work together in good time. invited to the National Assembly Government also approved over employments. Many people N2 billion for the projects at apologized to me when they the permanent sites and the saw the statistics. In fact, many projects are being handled by the people were attacking me on ministry of education together why the university employed with the NUC. The contracts more people from Katsina State were awarded in Abuja and the and yet, the Katsina people contractors were paid there. We were writing petitions against would have expected the projects me. Some of the petitions are to be delivered now. They were from Dutsin-Ma and the staff supposed to be delivered in 2013 employed from Dutsin-Ma in but there were challenges and the state university are not up to they could not be handed over. those we employed.
On the issue of TSA in Some lawyers from Dutsin-Ma which government directed all local government area took agencies to comply, at the end me to court over allegation of of the deadline on September recruitment bias. They said 15, all our funds were swept to majority of the staff were from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Benue State where I come In terms of how easy it will be from. The statistics of staff they for us to function, it is early to attached to the affidavit showed comment because the policy is that Katsina has 46 per cent of at the level of implementation staff and Benue has 12 per cent. and challenges have not even That case had been thrown out. unfolded. The details of how we are going to use the monies have not been released to us. They are still doing some technical work and all we desire is that it should be expedited so that we can get the funds because without those funds, a lot of activities will be grounded. We can’t even buy diesel to run our generators but I believe the policy is for the good of the nation.
We thought universities are not revenue generating centers and should be exempted; we don’t charge tuition fee; the money we get from students is third party money. In fact in smaller universities like ours, there is no economy of scales, so you have to look for funds elsewhere to be able to deliver services. It is something that is done in developed nations and I believe if we have the structure to do it, it will be good for the country.
There was a petition recently about marginalization in the recruitment exercises conducted by the university...
As a new university, we had a lot of challenges but the complaints about employment were not serious challenges. The most difficult challenge was attracting people especially at the senior cadre to come and work in Dutsin-Ma. A lot of people consider it a hard place to relocate to. Staff that had been established in some places for some years found it difficult to come but for people starting