Seven new universities licensed
December 28, 2006 | posted by Nigerian Muse (Archives)
The Bells, other private varsities get
From Mohammed Abubakar (Abuja)
BARELY 24 hours after assuming office,
the new Education Minister, Mrs. Chinwe Nora Obaji, performed her
first official assignment outside the confines of her ministry
yesterday with the presentation of certificates to newly approved
She also urged universities in the country to
harmonise their academic calendars to end in June each year from the
At the ceremony, the minister warned proprietors
of the new universities against cutting corners, saying that any one
found to have illegally operated its institution would have the
operating certificate withdrawn.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), at its
meeting last week granted approval to eight new universities. With the
presentation of operating licences to the affected institutions, the
number of privately owned universities has risen to 23.
The ceremony was witnessed by among others, Ogun
State governor, Gbenga Daniel and his Health Commissioner, Dr. Iyabo
The minister said in granting approval to the
new universities, the government took note of the relevance to
national needs of the programme focus of each of the universities,
geographical spread, and the credibility of the proprietors.
She said that government was cautions in not
granting licenses to just any proprietor who might not have genuine
commitment to education. "Therefore, through NUC and its specialised
standing committee on private universities, (SCOPU), submissions from
proposed university were duly screened to ensure conformity with laid
The minister reminded the proprietors that the
date approved for them to start operating was yesterday, adding that
the government would not tolerate a situation where "in two years
time, you will announce that you are ready to graduate your first set
She continued: "The implication of such is that
you started operating illegally before the licence was granted. We
have heard reports of some proposed private universities operating
satellite campuses for unscrupulous universities in utter disregard of
government closure of such campuses across the country.
"Government has directed security agents to
continue to monitor such providers and will not hesitate to withdraw
the licence of any private provider that errs in this respect," she
Obaji commended the NUC for its efforts in
enforcing quality assurance of Nigeria's university system and urged
the organisation to continue to strengthen its operations in view of
the increased number of universities.
She said: "While we are increasing access to
university education by way of increased enrolment, we should ensure
that quality and relevance are not compromised."
"As an academic, who has observed lapses in the
system", she said there was the need to tighten the admission
requirements into the universities.
Obaji recalled that in her days, candidates were
required to obtain five credit passes at a sitting to be eligible for
This condition, she noted allowed only top and
serious students to be admitted and registered.
"The rot in the system began to set in from the
time the admission requirements was relaxed to five credits at two
sittings, she added.
There is also the need for our universities to
harmonise their academic calendars to fit into the September - June
model. I, therefore urge the Vice-Chancellors to step up action on
this matter so that from 2006/2007 academic session, all Nigerian
Universities will end the session in June, enjoy a long vacation
period of about three months and begin a new session in September -
"This scheme will also mean that universities
will schedule end-of-Semester examinations about the same time, thus
preventing the practice whereby undergraduates from one university
write examinations for others in another university. Such cross-border
mercenaries will cease to exist."
The universities that received their operating licences
* The Bells University of Technology, Badagry, Lagos State;
* Jubilee University, Wukari, Taraba State;
* Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State;
* Novena University, Ogume, Delta State;
* Renaissance University, Enugu State;
* University of Mkar, Benue State; and
* City University, Ibadan, Oyo State
January 13, 2005
Excitement as seven private varsities receive licences
By Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi
It is not always that you find all the seats in the
auditorium of the National Universities Commission (NUC), and there are many of
them, occupied, as was the case on January 7. A first time visitor could have,
in fact, mistaken the event for a political rally of sorts. But it was not a
rally. It was only a ceremony organised by the NUC to present licenses to seven
new universities. But the recipients turned the ceremony into a carnival, with a
lot of dancing and singing.
The new seven
private universities include
* Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo,
* Bingham University New Karu, and
* Caritas University, Amorji-Nike,
* Cetep City University, Mowe,
* Katsina University, and
* Redeemer's University, Ede.
The Church of
Nigeria, Anglican Communion, owns the new Ajayi Crowther university. Its board
chairman is the eminent Professor of Medicine, Olujimi Akinkugbe. It intends to
take off with 410 foundation undergraduate students. It plans to have about 2080
students at its 10th anniversary. Its programmes will be science and technology
Oladimeji Islamic Foundation is the proprietor of Al-Hikmah University. It
intends to take off with 350 foundation students, and the number will peak at
5000 in 10 years. The focus of the university is Islamic Law. It intends to have
eight colleges at maturity, which would be established in three phases. Retired
Justice Mustapha Akanbi is the chairman of the institution's board.
university which owned by the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), the
programme orientation will be the medical sciences. It intends to take off with
400 foundation undergraduate students, but the upper limit will be 4500 over the
next 10 years. It plans to establish 11 colleges in three phases at maturity.
Chief S.A. Oshatoba is the board chairman.
The Sisters of
Jesus the Saviour own Caritas University. Its focus will be the Environmental
Sciences and Special Education. At maturity, it will have 11 colleges, which
would be developed in three phases. It intends to take off, also, with 400
undergraduate students. Its eventual students' population will peak at 7000. It
has Dr. Obinna Uzoh as chairman of the board.
University will specialise in Technology Policy. It intends to have only three
Faculties, which would be established in two phases. It will take off with 500
undergraduate students, but it does not intend to have more than 7190 students
when it is fully developed. The chairman of its board of Trustees is Mr. Joseph
University's area of specialisation will be Science and Technology. Owned by the
Katsina Islamic Foundation, it plans to have eight colleges at maturity. It
intends to take off with 400 undergraduate students. The eventual total
population of students will not be more that 7004. Dr Sani Lugga is the chairman
of its board of Trustees.
Ohiwere is the chairman of the board of Trustees of Redeemer's University. Owned
by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, its focus will be Actuarial Science and
Engineering. There will be nine colleges and a total number of 10,000 students
at maturity. It plans to take off with 500 undergraduate students.
All the seven
universities, except Cetep, were established by religious organisations. They
will all also admit students through the University Matriculation Examination,
organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). Dr Lugga of
Katsina University is hopeful that the development would eventually bring about
unity between the Christian and Islamic faiths.
With the seven now
licensed, the number of private universities has climbed to 15. The first three
to receive licenses in May, 1999 were Igbinedion, Babcock and Madonna
Universities. Bowen University got its own in July 2001, while another set of
three, Covenant, Pan-African and Benson Idahosa Universities got licenses in
February 2002. The ABTI-American University got its license in May 2003.
The total number
of universities in the country is now 65. Twenty-six of them are owned by the
federal government and 24 by the states.
The drums have now
stopped beating. To some people, having as many universities is simply crazy.
One of them is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oye
Ibidapo-Obe, who maintained at a recent lecture that the new private
institutions could find it difficult to get the required number of brilliant
academic staff to drive their programmes. Citing low morale of staff, over
population of students, unstable academic calendar, ageing and obsolete teaching
and research materials as the ills currently plaguing the existing universities,
the vice chancellor is at a loss about how the new universities will cope.
But the Executive
Secretary of the NUC has an answer. He noted that to some, the quantum jump from
46 universities in 1999 to 65 in 2005 could be "dizzying." His words; "when this
number rises, per chance, to between 80 and 100 in 2007, the chances of such
people having a heart attack are rather high. I will sing no dirge on the
funeral of such people, since their analysis of the Nigerian situation is
warped. Only if we realise that relative to our population and the need to
increase what UNESCO labels as the higher education participation rate of
Nigeria, we require as many universities as between 80 and 100 before the end of
the first decade of this millennium. Only if we realise that six to 10 years
from now, the present one million candidates that desire places in our
universities will hike in figure to about four million as a consequence of the
Universal Basic Education (UBE) bulge. Only if we realise that the maximum
enrolment for fresh students for all the 66 universities in 2010 will only be
about 390,000 in the face of over four million applicants. Only if we realise
that one of the causative factors of examination malpractice, cultism and
depressed quality of teaching in our universities is overcrowded classrooms,
laboratories and hostels."
To the Minister of
Education, the experiences derived from private sector participation at the
pre-primary, primary, secondary and university levels have shown that the
sector, if encouraged, has "great contribution" to make in the development of
education in the country.
But he expressed
what was probably on concerned citizens' mind when he said, 'since the number of
universities has risen significantly, the worry of many will be on quality. But
Okebukola was ready. He said, "the question that now hits everybody in the face
is; is it quantity at the expense of quality? The Law setting up the NUC gives
us the teeth to ensure the quantity-quality balance. We have girded our loins to
apply to the fullest the provisions of the law, especially ACT 9 of 1993. We are
strengthening our the set-up of our early warning observatory to detect
compromises in quality and to apply corrective and remedial measures to redress
however went further. He gave the NUC a challenge. His words: "I am directing
the NUC to submit to me within two weeks, its agenda for improved quality
assurance of the university system."
Within 24 hours,
Okebukola responded, because he had developed the plan in 2004 and had sent it
to the various committees of the NUC. There is now, within the NUC, the
Department of Quality Assurance, to be headed by Prof. Placid Njoku It will also
have about 35 other professors.
will conduct rigorous monitoring and evaluation activities of all universities
in Nigeria. It will demand compliance with NUC's Benchmarks and Minimum Academic
Standards and would recommend, for immediate sanction as dictated by Act 9 of
1993, any university whose operation falls below the standards. The thrust of
the work of the Department, according to Okebukola, is to guarantee Nigerians
that in spite of the quantitative increase in universities, quality of the
Nigerian university graduate will not be compromised.
Giving an insight
on what guided the federal government in granting the licenses, Osuji said, "let
me share with you, some of the concerns of government during deliberations
leading to the approval of the licenses. First is the issue of programmes to be
offered. The interest of the nation in Science and Technology development
demands that our universities, especially the new institutions, should respond
though greater focus on science, technology and engineering courses. Second was
the issue of duplicating courses that are already being offered by many other
universities." Osuji told the new universities that their comparative advantage
should emerge in their presentation of newer and more globally competitive
implored the new institutions to be mindful of the Nigerian situation before
reeling out their fees. "Government expects that your regime of fees should be
tolerable for the average Nigerian student. Our desire is to have partners in
university education, such as private sector operators that will go into the
business more as a social service than as an economic cow to be milked."
Debunking the notion that the federal government was planning to abdicate its
responsibility in funding public universities by granting licences to new
private ones, Okebukola affirmed that since 1999 when the Obasanjo
administration came on board, "NUC has (had an) allocation of about six
billion": for disbursement to federal universities. He continued: "since 1999,
the figure has multiplied six folds. Our records show that we now disburse about
36 billion every year. A surge was recorded in 2004 with a release of over N50
billion, half of the total allocation to the education sector at the federal
Twitter Comments About this Article ...