Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Rasheed, has disclosed that 292 applications for the establishment of private universities were currently being processed in the commission.
Speaking at the annual conference of the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency, Rasheed new private universities would be necessary in view of plans to review the Benchmark Academic Standards (BMAS) and expansion to accumulate more students by 20 per cent over the next five years. “This becomes imperative considering that the shortage of student places is likely to become even more acute over the next few decades, with Nigeria’s population set to more than double by 2050, making it the world’s third most populous country. “The dire shortage of university in Nigeria undermined the country’s political stability.
Last year only 19 per cent of the two million students who applied to university were admitted, with about 30 per cent either going abroad or pursuing vocational studies. “This is a very serious situation, one million students do not get access to university not that they failed their exams, but because the carrying capacity is not there”, he added.
Sequel to this, the ES said there would also be the need recruit and retain 10,000 lecturers by 2023 in addition to the existing 62, 000, saying the fi fure was about 30 per cent short of what is required. “In reality, we need about 88,000 academics to cater for our needs,” he said, adding that finding more places for students in public universities without being able to charge tuition fees, would also be difficult as “you have to provide more staff , more facilities and more equipment. “All public universities are virtually free, but universities are deprived because they are not properly funded,” he said.