The Federal Government has provisional licenses to the twelve(12) newly established Private universities in the country, even as it says it will continue to welcome new proposals from intending proprietors.

The Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu stated this Thursday in Abuja during the Presentation of the provisional license to the promoters of the new private universities.

The Minister who lamented the increasing demand for access to universities restates the commitment of the government to approve more private universities, especially where they meet all criteria.

He said, “As long as the access gap to University education and its attendant enrollment of students in excess of the standard carrying capacity of the Nigerian University System persists, government will continue to welcome proposals for the establishment of private universities by credible groups and organisations.

“Suffice it to say that approval for the establishment of private universities will only be granted to those promoters who fulfill the prescribed criteria and appropriate care will also be taken to make sure that the proprietors will follow through with their commitment to abide by the laid down standards and requirements.

“NUC on its part will, through the instrumentality of appropriate monitoring mechanisms, ensure that quality is assured and that minimum standards are not compromised”, Adamu said.

Adamu described as compelling, the need to establish more private universities at par with other countries in the same category with Nigeria.

“When compared with countries with similarly large and growing populations such as Indonesia, which has a population of 274 million and 3,162 universities (122 public, 3,040 private); South Korea with a population of 51 million, has 203 universities (20 public, 183 private); Vietnam with a population of about 97 million people has 185 universities (120 public, 65 private); Turkey with a population of about 84 million has 207 universities (128 public, 79 private); and Pakistan, with a population of 220 million has about 217 universities (148 public, 69 private), we still have a lot of ground to cover.

The minister also restated the government’s desire to improving the Human Development Index which Nigeria ranks poorly according to the United Nation.

“Government is also well aware of the need to improve the country’s Human Development index ranking knowing that countries that are consistently well-ranked in Human Development indices have, in recognition of the important role of Universities in human capital development, maintained a respectable number of Universities relative to their population. In the 2020 United Nations human development index, was ranked 161 out of 180 countries and territories”, Adamu said.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, NUC Abubakar Rasheed said the nation is still insufficient as regards access to universities.

“Even with the over 200 universities, access to universities still remains a challenge due to increasing yearning for degree by secondary school graduates.
Nigeria is still grossly deficient in access to universities and it is the universities that serve as the platform for training to the outer world”.

Rasheed revealed that efforts are ongoing to arrest and prosecute proprietors of illegal universities in the country.

“The establishment of private universities becomes an antidote of the illegal universities in the country. The National Universities Commission is working with security agencies to arrest and prosecute owners of illegal universities across the country”.

The NUC helmsman also stated that the Commission is set to unveil the new curriculum for universities, where seventy per cent will be the input of various universities while only thirty per cent will come from the regulator.

With the 12 Newly established Private Universities, it brings to 111, the number o private Universities in the country.