The number of universities in the country has increased from 169 to 170 as the National Universities Commission (NUC) on Thursday approved Bayelsa Medical University, Yenagoa.
The new university, the third to be owned by the Bayelsa State government, also brings the number of such institutions that belong to states to 48 while federal and private universities account for 43 and 79 respectively.
Speaking during the presentation of a certificate of recognition of the new university to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said more universities are needed in the country to meet the ever increasing demand for admission.
He said with only two million students in all the universities in a country of about 200 million people, there was need to double the number of the institutions, adding that the Bayelsa Medical University would go a long way in providing the much needed medical education in Nigeria.
“By the power conferred on me by the management of NUC, we shall recognize Bayelsa Medical University as the number 48 universities owned by states, and second public medical university (after Ondo State)in Nigeria and the fourth medical university in Nigeria, because we have two private medical universities, one in Port Harcourt and one in Lagos,” Rasheed said.
On his part, the visibly elated Governor Dickson said the decision to establish the new university was prompted by his administration continued commitment to boost education at all levels in order to improve the lives of the people, adding that there is no investment that can be considered too much in the sector.
“If we don’t build schools we should be prepared to build more prisons and more cemeteries,” the governor said.
Speaking further, Dickson said the new university will leverage on subvention and fees to be paid by students in carrying out its activities, even as he decried the situation where nursery schools charge higher fees than some universities.
“Nigeria universities cannot afford this luxury of being cheaper than our nursery and primary schools, and that is not the fault of the universities but is the fault of the leadership of our country.
“We have made university education which is the most important form of education to look cheaper than nursery, primary and even secondary education. Same people that are complaining that our children cannot pay higher fees in universities are the same people sending their children to private nursery schools and are paying 3 or 4 times higher; in primary school- paying 3,4 and 10 times higher,” the governor said.
The AUTHORITY reports that with this recent development, Bayelsa State can now boasts of Niger Delta University, University of Africa and Bayelsa Medical University, even as the state also plays host to Federal University, Otuoke and two polytechnics.