The 12 new private universities approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on April 6 have received their provisional licences from the National Universities Commission (NUC).
With the presentation of the licences, Nigeria now has a total of 111 private universities.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu presented the licences to proprietors of the universities at the NUC auditorium in Abuja on Thursday.
The universities who received their licences include: Pen Resource University, Gombe; Al-Ansar University, Maiduguri, Borno State; Margaret Lawrence University Galilee, Delta State and Khalifa Isiyaku Rabiu University, Kano, Kano State.
Others are: Sports University, Idumuje, Ugboko, Delta state; Bab Ahmed University, Kano, Kano State; Saisa University of Medical Sciences and Technology, Sokoto, Sokoto State and the Nigerian British University, Asa, Abia State.
Also presented with the provisional licences are: Peter University, Achina/Onneh, Anambra State; Newgate University, Minna, Niger State, European University of Nigeria, Duboyi, Abuja, FCT and Northwest University, Sokoto, Sokoto State.
Adamu noted that while the number of universities may seem large, there was a need to establish more universities in the country,
The Minister said: “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 maintained a respectable number of universities relative to their population.
“In the 2020 UN Human development index, Nigeria dropped three places to 161 out of 189 countries and territories. These are some of the matters we aim to address.
“As usual the provisional approval for these universities to operate is intended to create room for effective mentoring and qualitative growth within the first three years of operation.”
He said the universities would be affiliated to older generation universities for academic and administrative mentoring which would be moderated by the NUC.
The Minister urged the proprietors to sustain funding towards improving infrastructure, equipment for teaching and learning as well as human resources up to earn the universities accreditation by NUC.
Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed hailed the proprietors of the new universities.
He said private universities bring uniqueness to the Nigerian university landscape.
The NUC chief said: “The NUC has embarked on radical re-engineering of the curricula in the Nigerian universities to meet global standards and international best practices toward preparing Nigerian graduates for relevance in world economy.
“The Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) has been revised to Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) by NUC along with the programme best experts and industry stakeholders.
“The CCMAS, which will soon be unveiled to the public provides 70 per cent of what should be taught along with the expected outcomes, while universities will provide 30 per cent based on their individual contextual peculiarities and characteristics.
“The establishment of more private universities under the strict supervision of NUC is an antidote to the proliferation of illegal source of worry and embarrassment to the nation and a menace to quality university education delivery.’’
Rasheed enjoined the proprietors to acquaint themselves with the code of governance for private universities which aimed to enhance successful running and sustainability of the institutions.
Former executive secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie said universities bring development, adding that if we must have qualitative universities education, private universities must be encouraged.’
According to him, unless there is the creation of new states, new state universities cannot be created, saying that government was hard pressed in terms of political will and funds to establish more universities.
He added: “Universities bring development and the future of development in this country resides with the universities.
“Go to any state in this country, the establishment of universities bring about an increase in economics activities, new buildings coming up for students accommodation, okada riders for transportation, etc.”
He said countries with huge populations have good number of universities to cushion their educational needs.
Okojie called for support for those that want to establish private universities.
He said private universities make room for innovative and qualitative education.
Proprietor of Al-Ansar University, Maiduguri, Borno, Dr Muhammed Dikwa, who spoke on behalf of the proprietors assured the NUC that the newly licenced universities would observe all the guidelines set out by the NUC and ensure that qualitative education was not compromised.