• Proliferation of Universities in Nigeria

    The problems of access to university education and enrolment of students in excess of the carrying capacity of the universities in Nigeria have continued to be a serious challenge in the tertiary education sub-sector.

    Thus, any effort to address this menace either by government or the private sector will be a welcome development. The emergence of more private universities in Nigeria is therefore seen as one of the steps of addressing the issue.

    Daily Trust observed that presently, Nigeria has a total of 59 private universities serving a population of over 170 million people in the six geopolitical zones.

    However, in comparison to Brazil and Mexico which have 1,648 and 1,250 universities serving populations of 203 and 120 million people respectively, the gross inadequacy of the ratio of the institutions to the population is glaring.
    According to Daily Trust findings, South-West zone has the highest number of private universities having 28 out of the 59 private universities in the country.

    While the South-South and North-Central have 10 private universities each, the South-East, North-East and North-West have eight, two and one varsities respectively.

    The findings also showed that Ogun State has 12 universities followed by Osun State with six institutions, while Lagos, Edo states and the Federal Capital Territory having four each. Anambra, Kwara, Delta and Enugu states have three universities each, while Akwa-Ibom and Oyo states have two each respectively.

    According to the findings, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Ekiti, Adamawa, Taraba, Katsina, Benue, Kogi and Nasarawa states have only one university each.

    However, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Plateau, Niger, Gombe, Bauchi, Cross River, Bayelsa and Imo states have no single private university so far.

    Ogun State has Babcock, Chrisland, Christopher, Covenant, Crawford, Crescent, Bells University of Technology, Hallmark, Mcpherson, Redeemer’s University, Mountain Top and Southwestern universities.
    Edo State has Benson Idahosa, Igbinedion, Samuel Adegboyega and Wellspring universities. Lagos has Caleb, CETEP City, Pan-African and Augustine universities and the FCT has African University of Science and Technology, Baze, Nigerian-Turkish Nile and Veritas universities.

    Kwara State has Al-Hikmah, Landmark and Summit universities; Delta State Western Delta University and Micheal & Cecilia and Novena universities, while Enugu state has Renaissance, Godfrey Okoye and Caritas universities.
    In Akwa-Ibom there are Obong and Ritman universities, while Ajayi Crowther and Lead City universities were located in Oyo State.

    Ebonyi State has Evangel University, while Abia, Rivers, Ekiti and Adamawa states have Gregory University, Rhema University, Afe Babalola University and American University of Nigeria (AUN).

    While Kwararafa University, Wukari is in Taraba State, Al-Qalam, University of Mkar, Salem and Bingham universities are in Katsina, Benue, Kogi and Nasarawa states.

    Babcock University, Ilishan, Igbinedion University, Okada and Madonna University, Okija in Ogun, Edo and Anambra states are the first set of private universities in the country having been established in 1999.
    However, stakeholders in the education sector have spoken their minds in respect of emergence of more private universities in Nigeria.

    The Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau said private universities have contributed to the opening up of admission space for the swelling population of candidates seeking for university education in the country.
    He said that the “establishment of more private universities is a solution to the proliferation of illegal universities and degree awarding mills in the country.”

    But former FCT minister, Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, said the number of private universities in the country was not the only thing that really matter, rather the quality of services they offer.

    Modibbo, who is a board member of an Abuja-based private university, Base University, said though some regions have more private universities than others, but some of these universities are not up to standard.
    He explained that the North has few private universities because most people in the region are not willing to start a university just by name.

    “Over the years, the NUC has tightened the belt in granting license for university to individuals.  The commission should still tighten more to ensure that only people with commitment are given license to establish private universities in the country,” he said.

    However, he noted that the other area of concern is that proliferation of universities does not translate to the proliferation of job opportunities to the teaming graduates, adding that “I think these have to go side by side; as you provide educational opportunities, you must also make sure you provide job opportunities, otherwise the talents of our youths can be exploited elsewhere.”

    Also, an Associate Professor in Education Psychology in Bayero University, Kano, Professor Salisu Shehu who corroborated the position of Modibbo, said private universities are grossly inadequate in Nigeria given the population of the country and the demand for university education.
    Culled from Daily Trust Newspaper

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