According to data obtained from the National Universities Commission on Friday, the regime of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) approved a total of 33 private universities within 16 months.
The time frame under consideration is January 2021 to April 2022.
While 21 private universities were approved in 2021, 12 were approved during the current Academic Staff Union of Universities strike.
Prior to the establishment of the 33 universities, Nigeria had a total of 186 universities, including 49 federal universities, 59 state universities, and 78 private universities.
Pen Resource University, Gombe, Gombe State; Al-Ansar University, Maiduguri, Borno State; Margaret Lawrence I University, Delta State; Khalifa Ishaku Rabiu University, Kano; Sports University Idumuje Ugboko, Delta State; Bala Ahmed University, Kano; Saisa University of Medical Sciences and Technology, Sokoto State; Nigerian-British University Hasa, Abia State; Peter University Acina-
Some of the private universities approved in 2021 include Opfaith University, Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom; Thomas Adewumi University, Oko-Irese, Kwara; Maranatha University, Mgbidi, Imo; Ave Maria University, Piyanko, Nasarawa; Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Kano; Mudiame University, Irrua, Edo; Havilla University, Nde
Other institutions include NOK University in Kachia, Kaduna; Karl-Kumm University in Vom, Plateau; James Hope University in Lagos; Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria in Kano; Capital City University in Kano; Ahman Pategi University in Kwara; the University of Offa in Kwara; Mewar University in Masaka, Nasarawa; Edusoko University in Bida, Niger; Philomath University in Kuje, Abuja; and Khadija
In an interview with our correspondent, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, the Programme Director of Reform Education Nigeria, stated that while private universities have advantages, they should not be used in place of public universities.
“The failure of the government to manage the public university system efficiently resulted in the establishment of private universities in Nigeria.” While it is impossible to deny the importance of private universities, it is critical to note that not everyone in Nigeria can afford to pay fees in public institutions, let alone private universities that charge exorbitant fees.
“However, the government should take steps to restore sanity to the administration of our public institutions.” For example, ASUU has been on strike for months with no end in sight.”
On Saturday, the ASUU strike, which began on Monday, February 14, 2022, reached its 180th day, making it the second longest strike since the return to democracy in 1999. The longest strike in history occurred in 2020, during the administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, National President of ASUU, could not be reached for comment immediately.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria increased its release of dollars for foreign education by 13% in the second quarter of 2022.
According to the most recent statistics made available by the apex bank, the period under consideration ran from April 2022 to June 2022.
The figure is contained in data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria and was calculated based on the amount spent on educational services under the sectoral utilization for transactions valid for foreign exchange.
Nigerians spent $217.36 million dollars on foreign education in Q1 [January to March 2022].
In January, the amount was $60,202,730.84; in February 2022, it was $69.9 million.
In March, a total of $87.26 million was spent, representing a significant increase.
Nigerians have spent a total of $246.2 million so far in Q2.
$78.62 million in April 2022; $82.70 million in May 2022; and $84.9 million in June 2022, for a total of $462 million in 2022.
Industrial actions by tertiary institution-based unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union have hampered education in Nigeria, particularly in the tertiary education sector.
Currently, academic activities in Nigerian universities are centered on issues concerning the welfare of lecturers.
According to data from the apex bank, Nigerians remitted more than $462 million to foreign academic institutions in five months, with no significant reciprocity in the form of inflows from foreign sources into the local education sector.
The massive net dollar outflows have two negative consequences: underinvestment in domestic education and pressure on the naira exchange rate.
The high demand for dollars to pay for foreign educational institutions has an impact on Nigeria’s foreign reserves and puts pressure on the currency.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, approximately 76,338 Nigerians were studying abroad in 2018, the highest number from an African country.
When asked about the state of tertiary education in Nigeria, Victor Olumekun, a Professor at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, said, “Education is an essential ingredient for national development, so the government must significantly invest in it.” Universities, on the other hand, can look for other sources to supplement.
“Unfortunately, our leaders have stolen more than enough to feed their unborn great-grandchildren.” They can afford to send their children to Oxford and Cambridge, which charge more than $35,000 per session.”
So far, the ASUU strike appears to have no end in sight, as the union has vowed to continue striking until the government meets its demands.
The union is advocating for increased university funding, the release of earned allowances, the implementation of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of university lecturers’ salaries and allowances, and the renegotiation of terms of service, among other things.