“All applicants are required to submit 15 copies of their application, curriculum vitae and credentials” is a traditional statement in recruitment adverts of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It is a statement that also shows how tertiary (mostly government-owned) institutions in the country are wasteful and unprogressive.
Nigerian tertiary institutions which are supposed to be vanguards of innovation and societal advancement still largely depend on papers, envelopes and the post office as the medium for recruitment in this age of internet. Most institutions have refused to adopt use of emails or online forms to receive job applications in a time when recruitment interviews are being done using Skype or WhatsApp. Mail by post is still the only method through which most government-owned tertiary institutions receives job applications.
Recruitment and promotion processes in these institutions causes huge waste of money and time. The processes generates large volumes of paper waste and results to a big waste of money for staffs and applicant of jobs in these institutions. The sad part of the story is that while authorities in these institutions know of these wastage from experience, they are still holding on to the practice.
For instance, according to myjobmag the newly established Maritime University in Delta State of Nigeria, is currently recruiting academic staffs from Graduate Assistants all the way to Professors into about 38 departments, and each applicant is required to submit 15 copies each of their application, curriculum and credentials. The vacant positions for Graduate Assistant requires a minimum of 10 sheets of paper documents and that for Professors can attract paper submissions of about or more than 50 sheets of paper documents (which includes volumes of publications).
Graduate Assistant positions as such will attract 150 sheet of papers at a cost of N1,500 (10 documents x 15 photocopies at a cost of N10/photocopy) and Professor positions can attract about or more than 750 sheet of papers at a cost of N7,500 (50 documents x 15 photocopies at a cost of N10/photocopy). If they are to recruit at least one person per academic rank (7 ranks) from Graduate Assistant to professor in the 38 departments each, only 266 persons will be accepted, and if there is to be an average of 10 persons per department only 380 persons will be accepted.
In 2014, 125,000 job seekers applied for 4,500 jobs with Nigeria’s immigration service. In 2016, the boss of the Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service, said that the agency received 700,000 applications (2,000 graduates with first class honors degrees) for only 500 advertised positions. The same year the Nigerian Police Force said it received almost a million applications for 10,000 listed positions. In this context and considering also the high unemployment rate among M. Sc. and even PhD holders in the country, there will certainly be a similar application rate, especially for positions with B. Sc. and M. Sc. as minimum requirements. There is a high possibility that more than 10, 000 applications will be submitted.
Since applications are requested to be submitted at the office of the Registrar inside the premises of the institution, they will be delivered by hand or post. This must also be put into consideration. So in a case where as much 500 out of 10,000 submitted applications are accepted (assuming 150 sheet per person) and assuming most of the applicants are from the same region with the institution and used the cheapest postal services of NiPOST (SPEED POST ECONOMY = N820 for 1Kg), there would be 1,425,000 (9,500 x 150) wasted paper at a cost of more than N14. 3 million on photocopy and more than N7.8 million (9500 x 820) on postage.
A fortune of more than N22.1 million will be wasted on the job application process in that institution in less than two months and this burden will be on the applicants. Paper, time and money are also wasted during staff promotion as academic staffs of most tertiary institutions are required to submit copies of all their credentials (which are voluminous because of publications) every time they are due for promotion, instead of submitting only the ones acquired after the last promotion.
This bad management culture is evident in most processes that has to do with communication and information. Information flow in Nigerian tertiary institutions are still mostly or basically paper-based though some of these schools have IT units, internet and online portals. Their portals are mainly fee payment systems and as such are required to capture student’s data, aside that, daily information flow from person to person or department to department is still paper based.
In some cases, money is wasted to repeat these online processes offline for implementation and execution because there is either no connection between the IT units of the institutions (which in most cases are run contractors) with the academic or administrative departments; connections between the computers in the various departments in these institutions; or because staffs have not been trained to effectively use online systems.
The backwardness in academic and administrative processes in our tertiary institutions is simply an evidence of how backward and unprogressive majority of the administrators who run education in Nigeria are. With all their advanced education, international schooling and exposure, they have not been able to teach their students by example or neither have they been able to practice what they teach so their students can see and learn from.