Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Drug testing for lecturers is a misplaced priority-Murtala Muhammad

By Prof. Murtala Muhammad

The recent submission by Prof. Muhammad Abdul Aziz, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, while commending the decision by the Federal Ministry of Education to introduce drug tests for students seeking admission to all universities, advocates that such tests should be extended to lecturers as well in order to “sanitize the university system.”

It is disheartening and disturbing for this odious proposal to come from a person who had spent five years managing administrative and academic affairs at a university to undermine the privacy, trust, and autonomy of academic staff, implying that they are not responsible professionals capable of managing their own well-being.

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Furthermore, there are concerns about the potential for false positives, the stigma associated with drug testing, and the lack of clear guidelines for implementing and managing such a program.

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The university system is grappling with numerous pressing challenges in providing quality education, including inadequate funding, brain drain, staff shortages, and outdated infrastructure. It is puzzling that the Vice Chancellor would prioritize drug testing over these more pressing issues.

In fact, it may even create new ones, such as erosion of trust and autonomy among academic staff, potential false positives, and stigma associated with drug testing.

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Furthermore, this recommendation undermines the trust and professionalism of lecturers, implying that they are not responsible individuals capable of managing their own well-being. It is essential to address the root causes of substance abuse rather than resorting to blanket measures that may not address the issue effectively.

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The government should therefore focus on addressing the pressing challenges facing our university system by creating a conducive learning environment and improving the quality of education, rather than diverting resources to measures that may not yield the desired results. We must prioritize our efforts on solving the real problems facing our universities rather than resorting to measures that may do more harm than good. 

Muhammad, is a lecturer at Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano


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