Education: The unsettling disclosure by NUC boss

July 4th, 2018

It was another shocking revelation on the sordid state of education in Nigeria this week. The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed‎ disclosed that only one per cent of the nation’s population form the total enrolment of students in the 164 universities across the country.
The Professor who spoke on Tuesday, on the side-lines of the presentation of Provisional License to a new private university, Skyline University, Kano, said that the 75 private universities in the country accounted for 5.31 per cent of the total enrolment in the universities across the country.
As expected, he described the situation as unhealthy and stressed the need for more access either by creating more universities or expanding existing ones. ‎
‎In the words of the Education expert, “all the 75 private universities in the country account for only 5. 31 per cent of the total enrolment in our universities and many of them are small. If you look at the population of 198 million which is nearly 200 million and if you bear in mind that the total enrolment in our universities today, all the 164 universities is less than 2 million. That is just 1.96 million students in the universities that translates roughly to one per cent of the population; one per cent of the population are in the university, I think that is not healthy.
“So, we need more access; that is why we need either more universities or we need expand existing universities. We need to create more space for more Nigerians to get quality university education,” he said.
These revelations are startling. If only 1% of Nigerians get their university education in the country, it then means that most of the country’s graduates schooled abroad. It could also mean that the country, in real measure, does not have the needed number of university graduates to run the country in such a manner and way as to propel Nigeria to the desired level of development if the country’s public and private sectors are running at full capacity.
The entire Education system of the country is in dire crisis. Before this startling disclosure, many Nigerians thought it was only the poor quality products of the Education system that was troubling the country. Now, it is clear we cannot even boast of quantity, that our managerial and top bureaucratic cadres are populated by graduates trained in foreign country and that even at that, the desired number may not be available.
There is the crisis of educating this top cadre abroad. They come home with foreign ideas that may not suit local needs. It also drains the little foreign exchange the country earns to train abroad. And as has been recently revealed, most of these overseas universities that admit and train Nigerians are not up to standards while some are out rightly illegal institutions.
The immediate solution is to look inwards, into the challenges facing the university education system in Nigeria. Given the problem of paucity of funds facing the federal and state governments which has militated against rapid expansion of government universities, the next option will be the private universities in the country. Unfortunately, many Nigerians who are now groaning under suffocating poverty cannot afford to send their children and wards to private universities because of the high cost. Professor Rasheed said at the occasion that the NUC could not regulate the fees of private schools. But his advice that government at all levels and philanthropists to institute scholarship for indigent students, who are intelligent to enable them access quality education could go a long way in ameliorating the ugly situation‎.
‎According to him, the establishment of the new university is significant because it is the first private university in the Kano and the second private university in the North. It is also commendable that the NUC through Professor Rasheed has assured that the Commission would continue to support investors in university education as long as they delivered quality education, which will in turn develop the country. A two-prong approach of encouraging the establishment of more universities and expanding the existing ones should be pursued vigorously by both the government and private business men. ‎
We at The AUTHORITY Newspaper agree totally with Professor Rasheed that “the future of this country rests in the strength of the university education, so we will continue to support investors in our university education”.

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