The Federal Government yesterday presented provisional licences to the eight newly approved private universities with caution to dispense the highest standard of quality education to Nigerians.
The Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwukah, presented the certificates, in Abuja yesterday, assisted by NUC Executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.
Anwukah said even though the government was seeking to increase access to education, quality and relevance of the courses offered would not be compromised.
The minister noted that the eight licences issued brought the number of universities in Nigeria to 152 and the number of private universities to 68.
According to Anwukah, Nigeria’s population is 188 million and the 152 universities provide a ratio of one to 23 million Nigerians. This number, he said, was grossly inadequate compared to some other highly populated countries such as India where one university serves only a little above one million people.
To the new universities, the minister said: “You should adopt the best practices. Quality and relevance will not be compromised.”He reminded them of sanctions if the provisions of their licences were flouted.
Prof Rasheed stated that the newly licenced universities had satisfied the 14 processes leading to the offers. The processes spanned between two and 13 years.
The NUC Executive Secretary enjoined the universities to dare to introduce reviews and changes in the courses being taught for knowledge update for students.
He urged them not to replicate what the older universities may be doing wrong.The NUC boss said the new universities should not allow themselves to be forced to start on wrong footings by their mentor universities.
“You don’t have to follow everything the older universities say. Don’t allow them force you to start on wrong footings. Don’t replicate what they may be doing wrong. However, older universities can also learn from the new ones,” he said.
The eight new private universities which got their provisional licences were Anchor University in Ayobo, Lagos State, Arthur Javis University, Akpabuyo, Cross River State, Clifford University in Owerrinta, Abia State, Coal City University in Enugu, Crown Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Kwara State, Dominican University, Ibadan, Oyo State, Kola Daisi University, also in Ibadan and Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State.
The Federal Executive Council approved the universities on November 2, 2016 and they are to be mentored for the next three years by older universities, which include the University of Ibadan and the University of Nigeria.