By Joseph Erunke
Going through admission statistics of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, 90 per cent of the 1.6 million candidates that sat for the entrance examination chose federal universities as first choice.
While the fallout from the 90 per cent negotiate for state universites when it becomes apparent they are going to lose out, the remaining, less than 10 per cent who can afford private universities settle for private universities. That has been the trend every year.
Not withstanding, many private universities are still unable to get enough candidates to fill their admissions slot as allocated by the National Universities Commission, NUC.
Applicants exceed NUC allocation
However, as Admiralty University of Nigeria, ADUN, sets to debut in Nigeria’s education sector by October this year, the number of students who applied for admission through JAMB have surpassed the NUC allocation.
It begins full academic operations with not only about 200 teaching and non-teaching pioneer staff, but also 450 students. The Nigerian Navy-owned Admiralty University of Nigeria, ADUN, has been inundated with requests for both admissions and jobs.
Although prepared with necessary infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities to admit as many students as possible, the university is limited by the laid-down regulations set by the National Universities Commission and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB.
The President of the institution, Dr Pavlos Pavlou, who spoke to Vanguard on a number of issues, regretted that but for the country’s universities’ regulatory body, the school would have offered many people admission beyond the 450 benchmark. This is because according to him, Admiralty University has all it takes for acquisition of education anywhere in the world.
NUC dictates varsity structure
He said: “NUC dictates the structure to be put in place and the programmes to be run so we don’t do outside that. And the NUC has said 450 students is the limit for number of students to be admitted for the first year. On our part, we are ready to take higher number but that is the quota by the NUC. The interest we got regarding admission was even three or four times the number placed by the NUC.
“The other issue we did not expect but which we were inundated with was the number of staff, “he said.
Conceived by Nigerian Navy authorities and Hellenic Education
According to him, when conceived in 2014 by the Nigerian Navy authorities and the Hellenic Education, no one had an inkling that the birth of the baby which was to be christened Admiralty University of Nigeria, ADUN, would be in a matter of months.
He said: “When its handlers sought the consent of the National Universities Commission to register it with a view to joining the then already existing 68 private universities through necessary applications, those with greater knowledge of the many rigorous procedures required to getting an ivory tower given a provisional licence, may not have envisaged its imminent take-off.
“That explains why many people were surprised when the university was offered a provisional ticket to commence operations by the NUC in 2017.
‘’Yes, to the consternation of many, it took the university only 18 months to sail through the many waters of the nation’s universities’ regulatory body and subsequently join the fray of second generation educational institutions out to change the narrative in impacting knowledge in line with contemporary issues and challenges.
“Precisely, on December 19,2017, the then proposed Admiralty University, Ibusa, Delta State, received its licence among five others to join existing private universities working to sustain efforts towards achieving the vision to become institutions with globally competitive standards for which they were established.
“We went through all the procedures that the National Universities Commission entails but the NUC placed us under the category of private university. The simple reason is that although the Nigerian Navy owns 60 per cent of the investment, it could be said to be a federal university but because it was a PPP arrangement, they then placed us under private universities’ category. So we went to the private universities’ procedures but the process went through for about 18 months which was faster than anyone else within the country.
Usually, this is a process that takes four years or more but this was done under 18 months. The simple reason was that experience came in, the colleges in many fields of study were already there.
“Establishment of ADUN has been seen as a reflection of the need to close the gaps created by the challenges facing government-owned tertiary institutions across the country.
“Some of the problems include access, resulting in the emergence of degree mills and satellite campuses; preponderance of social vices, instability of academic calendar, indiscipline of staff and infrastructural decay.
“In some cases, available facilities are not properly maintained and, therefore, left in a state of disrepair. Though funds from the government may be insufficient to sustain adequate provision of facilities and infrastructure, some of the universities pay lip service to institutionalising maintenance culture in the system. This has often resulted in Nigerians resorting to seeking proper and adequate knowledge in institutions of higher learning abroad.
“Admiralty University of Nigeria was established out of a Public-Private Partnership,PPP, between the Nigerian Navy through its investment arm – Navy Holdings and Hellenic Education, an international educational organisation, which main dream is to develop universities and colleges of higher education.
“So many people may have wondered what could have necessitated the Nigerian Navy to delve outside its core constitutional mandate of securing the country’s territorial waters to establishing a university of international repute as ADUN.
Reasons for Nigerian Navy University
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, defended the service’ decision at a recent media briefing he held to herald the take-off of the university in October this year. Ete Ibas said the Navy’s decision was informed by the need to reduce the high rate of foreign trainings by not only the Nigerian Navy personnel but also those of its sister services even as he added that the establishment of the institution was aimed at reducing the pressure the development was imposing on foreign exchange.
“Speaking through the Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Henry Babalola, Ete Ibas said the university which takes off in October 2018, will start academic activities with degree programmes in three faculties. The university, he explained, was “conceived to expand the frontiers of knowledge for the growth and development of humanity, meet the training needs of the Nigerian Navy along with those of their sister services with reduced travel abroad for training and the pressure it imposed on foreign exchange.
“Admission of students into the inaugural class is already ongoing and the university opens in October 2018, with degree programmes in three faculties – Arts and Social Sciences, Management Sciences and Science, offering pioneer degree programmes in emerging fields such as Forensic Science, Cyber Security and Software Engineering,“ he said, disclosing that the ”faculties of Medicine, Engineering, Law and Pharmacy are planned to commence in 2019.”
Four campuses across the nation
“A full capacity ADUN will deliver undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate degree and certificate programmes in nine faculties on four campuses – its main campus in Ibusa as well as additional campuses in Lagos, Sapele and Calabar. The permanent university campus along the Ibusa-Ogwashi-Uku Expressway, near Asaba, Delta State, is fully equipped with all academic infrastructure, science labs, computer facilities, student residential area, cafeteria and restaurants, sports grounds, fully equipped health centre as well as providing comfortable en-suit hostels for all students,“ he explained.
Ete Ibas said ADUN was aimed at preparing graduates who are equipped with skills demanded in the industries and are globally competitive. ADUN will offer a non-traditional teaching and learning environment.
“Lectures will be delivered through Flipped Classroom technology, giving students access to lectures, notes, books and teaching materials online, while classroom time will be used to better understand the theory, practice and critically analyse new knowledge. This is in line with the best educational practices as experienced by students at some of the best universities in the US and Europe.
The university has developed partnership with universities overseas to expand the breadth of teaching and learning resources available and accessible students and faculty. Some of these partnerships will also afford our students the opportunity to compete part of their degree programs here in Nigeria and the other part at our partner university overseas.”