The Federal Executive Council, at its meeting on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 approved the establishment of 20 new private universities in Nigeria.
The approval followed a recommendation by the Federal Ministry of Education to the Council.
This brings the total number of private universities in the country to 99. Nine of the new universities are located in North-Central zone, three in South-South, two in South-East, five of them in North-West and one in South-West.
The 20 new private universities will be given provisional licenses to run for three years while the ministry monitors and evaluates their growth.
The new universities are:
- Maryam Abacha University of Nigeria, Kano, Kano State
- James Hope University, Lagos, Lagos State
- Capital City University, Kano, Kano State
- Ahman Pategi University, Pategi, Kwara State
- University of Offa, Offa, Kwara State
- Mewar University, Masaka, Nasarawa State
- Edusoko University, Bida, Niger State
- Philomath University, Kuje, Abuja
- Khadija University, Majia, Jigawa State
- Anan University, Kwall, Plateau State
- Topfaith University, Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom State
- Thomas Adewumi University, Oko-Irese, Kwara State
- Maranathan University, Mgbidi, Imo State
- Ave Maria University, Piyanko, Nasarawa State
- Al- Istikama University, Sumaila, Kano State
- Mudiame University, Irrua, Edo State
- Havilla University, Nde-Ikom, Cross River State
- Claretian University of Nigeria, Nekede, Imo State
- NOK University, Kachia, Kaduna State
- Karl-Kumm University, Vom, Plateau State
Ownership of universities in Nigeria, with these new approvals are:
- Federal Universities 43
- State universities 48
- Private universities 99
The 99 private universities are owned, largely by Churches, Muslim organisations and some by individuals.
Ogun State hosts the highest number of universities in Nigeria, with a total of nine registered universities sited there.
More universities mean more students and more graduates annually.
Statistics from February 2019 show that Nigerian universities produce about 500,000 graduates annually. There is an annual population of slightly over two million undergraduate students and 234,000 postgraduate students. On the teaching side, there are just about 61,000 lecturers in the university system.
While 190 universities cannot be said to be too much for a country of about 200 million people, whose youth form a majority of the population, the fact that there are no jobs for the graduates after school, spells a very serious problem.
Not many formal jobs are being created and while a few of the universities have touted that they emphasize and teach entrepreneurship courses to prepare the students for life after studies, there is no major indication that most of the young ones are adequately prepared for the harsh economic environment outside. White collar jobs remain the expectation of most youths post-graduation, and this cannot continue.
Judging from the names of the newly approved private universities, there is no indication that any of them is to focus on dedicated areas like technology, agriculture or other specialized courses that can prepare our young ones for life after studies. One would expect that universities of science and technology or agriculture would be the focus at this time and such institutions must be told to focus on their core areas, instead of competing with the older universities to admit students for the regular humanities, social sciences and basic liberal arts programmes.
Expanding the education system through approvals for more higher institutions means the National Universities Commission, the Federal Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies must design new curricula for the institutions that will give emphasis to entrepreneurship, business ownership and provision of service to others, instead of an expectation of ready-made jobs in banks, oil companies and the civil service, which is no longer a realistic prospect.
IMAGE CREDIT: Twitter
Epa Ogie Eboigbe, veteran journalist, broadcaster and public affairs specialist writes on, and analyses current and historical issues with a ‘wise pen’.