President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday lamented that 60 per cent of lecturers in various Nigerian universities have no doctorate degree.
The President who spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, while interacting with 100 beneficiaries of the state’s scholarship programme, also commended the initiatives of Governor Seriake Dickson in the educational sector.
Our correspondent learnt that the 100 beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme were selected from rural communities and poor families in the state and sent to the top secondary schools in the country during Jonathan’s administration as the governor of the state.
They were said to have graduated from Dowen College, Lagos; Bell’s Comprehensive Secondary School, Ota; Nigerian Turkish International College, Abuja and Vale College, Ibadan.
Jonathan said he got the statistics from the National University Commission.
He, however, said the Federal Government had provided respite for the lecturers and that his administration had worked out a scholarship programme to encourage lecturers to get their doctorate degrees in any part of the world.
Jonathan, who spent the Sallah holiday in his hometown, Otuoke, said his administration had designed another scholarship programme for a category of people he referred to as “intelligent Nigerians”.
He said prospective beneficiaries must possess first class degrees from the university.
He said the special scheme was designed for specific areas of discipline such as molecular biology, genetics, economics, engineering and applied sciences.
He said only about 400 Nigerians were qualified across the country to go for the selection.
He said, “About 60 per cent of lecturers don’t have PhDs and we reject it. We decided to come up with a programme for you; to be in the academics, you must have PhD. This means that we must work out a programme for everybody to have scholarship.
“Everybody who is in the academics must have an opportunity to go and do their doctorate degrees anywhere. In addition to that, we think that as a nation, we have very intelligent people and we must get a scholarship for these people who are very intelligent.
“We come up with a programme for intelligent Nigerians. To select this group of people, first and foremost you must make first class in the university. You don’t need to make a first class to be a lecturer. In addition to giving every lecturer an opportunity to get a PhD and lecture, we need a programme for intelligent Nigerians.
“We are trying to get a crop of Nigerians that will take us to the moon. That is what the Bayelsa State Government is doing here. We must encourage our best brains. I am quite appreciative of Dickson.”
He regretted that the past administration in the state abandoned the scholarship programme which had allowed graduates of primary schools in the state to attend prestigious secondary schools in the country.