By Joseph Erunke
THE federal government yesterday presented provisional licenses to the 20 new private universities recently approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
Recall that FEC had on Wednesday, February 3, 2021,during its weekly meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, approved the establishment of 20 new private universities, bringing the total number of private universities in the country to 99.
The approved universities are,Topfaith University Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom State; Thomas Adewumi University, Oko-Irese, Kwara State; Maranatha University, Mgbidi, Imo State;Ave Maria University, Piyanko, Nasarawa State; Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Kano State; Mudiame University, Irrua, Edo State;Havilla University, Nde-Ikom, Cross River State; Claretian University of Nigeria, Nekede, Imo State.
Others are NOK University, Kachia, Kaduna;Karl-Kumm University, Vom, Plateau State; James Hope University, Lagos; Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria, Kano;Capital City University, Kano;Ahman Pategi University, Kwara; University of Offa, Kwara State.
Also approved are, Mewar University, Masaka, Nasarawa State;Edusoko University, Bida, Niger State; Philomath University, Kuje, Abuja; Khadija University, Majia, Jigawa and Anan University, Kwall, Plateau State.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, in his remark at the National Universities Commission, NUC Auditorium, Abuja, venue where the licenses were presented, said the approval of the establishment of these universities was a testimony to the continued partnership of the federal government with the private sector.
Adamu, who was represented on the occasion by the Minister of State, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, urged the proprietors to live up to the standard of NUC, warning that quality assurance standards must not be compromised.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, noted that the approval was a landmark achievement for Nigerian universities.
He commended the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for deploying his goodwill to convince the Federal Executive Council to approve the universities.
Rasheed, who also hailed proprietors of the new varsities on their zeal and determination to pursue the great initiative of establishing universities to address seemingly intractable problem of inadequate access to quality university education in Nigeria, however, warned that the NUC would not tolerate any unwholesome practices outside the commission’s guideline from the proprietors of approved universities.
He said: “The NUC appreciates the positive role of private universities in the provision of quality university education in the country.
‘’It is for this reason that the federal government has remained committed to increasing access to university education through partnership with the private sector so as to cater for the yearnings of the teeming number of qualified candidates seeking university education. This is without prejudice to quality and laid down standards.
“The university system has experienced a rapid expansion over the last two decades, from less than 40 universities in 1999 to as many as 197 today.
“Of this number, 99, representing roughly 50 percent are private universities. Clearly,the catalysts for this huge expansion in the NUS is the increased participation of the private sector in the provision of university education.
‘’The extent of the private sector contribution, in terms of efficiency, quality and quantity is currently being noticed in the performance of a number of our private universities.’’