The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Saturday decried the proliferation of universities in Nigeria.
Dogara, who delivered a keynote address at the 11th convocation ceremony of the Achievers University in Owo, Ondo State, charged the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resolve their dispute amicably.
He said: “Worthy of note is the spate of approvals and licensing of private universities. The National Universities Commission (NUC) must be quick to have a recess, a break for a period of time to allow the very large number of private universities already licensed to mature.
“I am reliably informed that there are 202 universities in Nigeria, out of which the Federal Government owns 49; the 36 state governments manage 54, while the rest 99 universities, including Achievers University, are promoted by private initiatives.
“Many of the newly established private universities are still struggling to find their feet; not because there are no prospective university students in JAMB’s pool, but we would be shying away from the reality if we fail to realize that very many of the applicants cannot afford the fees charged by private universities.
“So many prospective university students would rather wait for a few years to benefit from public universities rather than exploit the vast opportunity available in private universities.
“We must however acknowledge the great jobs the private universities are doing for those who can afford it, and for assisting the government in stemming the tide of educational tourism. Hitherto, many Nigerian youths were found in very great numbers in many universities across the globe, particularly in West African countries. In the last 21 years, with the advent of private universities in Nigeria, the story has changed for good.
“Our public universities are seriously affected by incessant strikes and threats of it. Are there no other ways of resolving disputes between the workers and the government?”
By: Yemi Kanji
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