‘We May Need More, But No Challenge of Qualified Lecturers’, Rector MAN
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Management of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron has said that although there is room for more teaching personnel to beef up the Academy’s workload, such want however does not amount to lack or insufficient qualified academic staff contrary to the reported position of the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron (AMANO).
AMANO President, Emmanuel Maiguwa had Tuesday in Lagos raised concerns about what he described as insufficient qualified professional lecturers and mariners at the Academy, despite its admission that the institution has been greatly revamped to meet with its core objective after over two decades in the woods.
Maiguwa who along with his AMANO exco addressed pressmen on the matter noted that despite the remarkable transformation achieved at the Maritime Academy in terms of infrastructure and training equipment under the current MAN Rector, Commodore Duja Effedua (Rtd), noted that the Academy is struggling to attract the required professionals to provide efficient classroom and practical training.
Maiguwa also reportedly called on the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola CON to increase the Academy’s budget allocation to enable it recruit qualified professionals. In addition, the AMANO President called on the minister to consider creating a special intervention funding that will enable the academy “to adequately match professional mariners’ compensation to that of the private sector to attract qualified professionals into the system.”
When contacted for his reaction, Effedua disassociated the Academy from such claim, noting that at no time in the past five years has its teaching manpower being a major challenge, sitting cases of expatriate academic staffs that have come and gone; with four currently been processed to resume any time, as soon as their immigration documentations gets approved.
While expressing reservation about the AMANO’s narrative, the Rector note that whereas Maiguwa has a right to speak on issues as a stakeholder and friend of the Academy, he did not get the full facts of the issue he raised concerning the supposed deficit in the Academy’s training manpower.
“l believe he is genuinely concerned and meant well, but l also think he is not correct in this matter.
He also faulted AMANO’s position on some of the yardstick the group latched upon to push its concern and advocacy.
“This is a tricky and serious matter, we appreciate the fact that AMANO wants the best for the Academy, but some of what my friend, Emmanuel was quoted to have said is not true. He is saying that there is an exodus of lecturers from the academy that we cannot pay; who are the lecturers? He has access to us 24/7, he should have gotten across to cross check on facts before pushing out details that are not consistent with the actual.
“The recent retirement affected only two people and one of them is already back as a contra staff. During our cadets graduation ceremony in December, we showed the pictures of four Indians who are about to come to join our strength. We are already processing their VISA and they will be here as that is done.
“Talking about maritime education, yes, it is expensive and it is obvious to all and we agree with them on that. But he tried to create the impression that there is a problem and there is no problem. Talking about exodus of staff is not correct. They should support these claims with names, then we can tell you whether we are having challenges or not. We don’t have that challenge; we are only trying to add more. There is nothing wrong with adding more to your work force, but talking about exodus of lecturers, no.”
Commodore Effedua explained that whereas improvement is always a welcome development in any training institution be it faculty expansion, curriculum upgrade, infrastructure or staffing requirement, every narrative should reflect the actual facts, so that the individual facts are not muddled up; even as he assured that the Academy teaching staff profile is not derelict.
“People are even seeking to come in, locally and from abroad. We have seen expatriate coming here to teach and returning home after their contract term. We have over 10 staff members with PhDs and more than 20 with Masters degree, so talking about that, we don’t have a problem.
“Our pool of professional staff includes those with vast experiences in the maritime industry, the Nigerian Navy, NPA etc. We also have highly qualified expatriates, some will arrive before the end of the first quarter, we are working on that, processing their documents. We are also in talks with the Association of Master Mariners and their Engineering counterparts to seek the support of training activities at the institution.
“Like l said earlier, there is nothing wrong with having more and giving those who are there more exposure, but we thank AMANO for its robust support so far. Let me thank you for seeking this clarification, I guess l have answered all your worries.”