By Joseph Erunke
The National Universities Commission, NUC, yesterday claimed that universities in Nigeria could not compete globally because they had undermined quality, character moulding among other virtues.
This came as the commission said 303 applications from private universities seeking licenses for operations were in its possession.
NUC Executive Secretary, Abubakar Rasheed, who disclosed this in Abuja at the opening of a two-day national summit on private universities in Nigeria, said figure available to the commission showed that at the moment Nigeria had over 170 higher institutions with 43 being federal, 48 states and 79 privately owned.
While he acknowledged what he called “invaluable roles private institutions play in bridging the gap of tertiary education in Nigeria, “Mr Rasheed however, insisted that “universities have unfortunately undermined the issue of quality, character moulding among other virtues, hence making it difficult for them to compete globally.”
Rasheed, who disclosed that getting any university registered in Nigeria required 14 painstaking steps and procedures, all of which must be fully met, noted that getting all 303 universities licensed to provide more access to tertiary education, would have been a laudable idea, if only they can meet the criteria.
He said: “You see; the challenges of providing education for all our people are very challenging, especially young and growing population in the country. So we need a partnership with the private sector because the fact of the matter is that the government alone cannot provide all the resources required to provide education for our people.
“So we are segregating and getting the input of the private sector, so those of them with the passion, with the commitment to establish this institution, we want to encourage them to do so and we also want to guide them to ensure that they do it properly.
“As I speak to you there are 303 application forms from people seeking to establish private universities on my table in the office. Out of this 303, about 208 are in the first stage of our requirement for getting a university registered, that is the conception stage, 63 of them are on stage 6, then about 30 of them have reached step 8, only two applicants have attained step 10”