The National Universities Commission (NUC) say it plans to increase university capacity by supporting the creation of new private universities.
NUC recently issued provisional licenses to 20 newly approved private universities in Nigeria. However, the standards and criteria of approving private universities are either not known or are out of tune with current global reality.
The approval brought the number of private universities in Nigeria to 99 and a total of 197 universities.
NUC said the move is necessary means an increment in number means increased competition and increased choices, which should lead to better standards.
In the most recent report released by Webometrics, a respected authority in the ranking of universities globally, no Nigerian university made it to the top 1,000 universities in the world.
The report stated that the highest ranked Nigerian university, the University of Ibadan, is placed 1,258 globally and number 18 on the continent of Africa, far behind universities from South Africa, Egypt,Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.
In terms of knowledge production through research, “Nigeria’s universities produce only 44% of the “scholarly output” of South Africa and 32% of Egypt.
This is even though Nigeria has nearly four times more universities than Egypt and over six times more than South Africa.” These rankings tell a gory story of the state of university education in Nigeria and it’s gradual decline to global irrelevance.
Just last month, the federal government announced the establishment of two universities of technology in Akwa Ibom and Jigawa States to balance universities of technology across all geopolitical zones in the country but funding is still a major problem.
If the government and other stakeholders give adequate funding and desired attention to the sector, it can become a great source of revenue for the country.
An improved educational system in the country can attract international students through which government can generate foreign exchange, which can be used to finance the education of locals and improve the infrastructure in our universities.
NUC therefore called on the federal government to create enabling environment for staff through improved conditions of service, provision of basic infrastructure and tools required for effective functioning of universities, virtual libraries, and information communication technologies and internet connectivity.
They should create research-friendly environments to encourage creativity and innovation.