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High tuition fees: Over 30% carrying capacity of private varsities not utilized ― FG

...says total varsity carrying capacity now 2 million

THE Federal Government has disclosed that the total carrying capacity of universities in Nigeria has been increased to two million over the 1.5 million in 2015.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who made this known on Thursday at the 8th edition of weekend ministerial press briefing in Abuja, however, lamented the outrageous fees charged by some private universities in Nigeria.

He specifically said that over 30 per cent of total carrying capacity of the private tertiary institutions has not been utilized, largely due to high school fees.

Adamu, therefore, appealed to the operators of private tertiary institutions to cut down on school fees for optimum capacity utilization, saying this way, they would be benefiting from economies of scale rather than continue to insist on exorbitant school fees which is obviously not paying off.

He further disclosed that during the life span of the current administration, government has increased the carrying capacity to 653,428 spaces for tertiary education.

He admitted that access to quality education has been a major challenge to Nigerians over the years.

He said apart from many other factors militating against the legitimate desire of Nigerians to quality education, the astronomical increase in the country’s population, now estimated at 180 million people has not helped matters.

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He said: “Nevertheless, we have a duty as a government to continue to strive hard and do whatever that is humanly possible within the limits of resources available to us to ensure that our people have unfettered access to quality education.”

“As part of efforts aimed at addressing the persistent problem of access to university education, occasioned by the low carrying capacity of existing universities as against the growing number of qualified candidates, the Federal Government during the period under review established or licensed a total of 30 universities, bringing the total number of universities in Nigeria to 169.”

“These comprise 43 Federal Universities, 47 State Universities and 79 Private Universities, with the combined carrying capacity of about two million spaces as against the 1.5 million carrying capacity we inherited when we came in 2015,” he said.

The minister said one of the key priority of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was to improve on quality of educational delivery at all levels so as to ensure that the products of the system are globally competitive.

He said this regard, government has ensured effective supervision of tertiary institutions, high level manpower training, provision of quality library services, provision of information and communication technology facilities to enhance digital learning among others.

Adamu, revealed that government has spent over N78 billion for the sponsorship for 15,217 Masters and Doctorate trainings across varsities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the last four years.

Meanwhile, the minister has advised all the lecturers and students deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as ad hoc staff for the conduct of the 2019 general elections to approach the assignment with commitment and ultimate patriotism.

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