FG grants operational licences to new private varsities

THE Federal Government on Tuesday granted provisional licences to four newly approved private universities to commence academic programmes.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who presented the licences to the promoters of the institutions, on Tuesday in Abuja, warned that government would not hesitate to withdraw the provisional licences if the institutions derailed from their Academic Master Plan and extant laws establishing them with the three years probationary period.

The Universities are: Dominion University, Ibadan. Oyo State,  Greenfield University, Kaduna State, Trinity University, Laloko, Ogun State and Westland University, Iwo, Osun State.

This brings the number of universities in Nigeria to 169, that is 43 Federal, 47 State owned and 79 Federal universities.

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Adamu, who was represented by the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Ishaq Oloyede, said access to university education has continued to pose great challenge giving the population of Nigeria estimated to be over 200 million.

He said the government would continue to work with the private sector in addressing the challenge, while also ensuring that NUC’s quality assurance is strengthened to properly regulate the university system in Nigeria.

Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed in his remark, said the current carrying capacity of the existing universities is 2 million out of about 200 million population.

He said what this means was that only one quarter of the population have the privilege of placement in the universities.

On the new universities, Rasheed said the Commission had been engaged in the rigorous processing of the several applications to ensure that the requirements and the quality assurance mechanisms were strictly adhered to and met.

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He said: “The four universities being presented their licence today have been under scrutiny since 2002 in the case of Westland University, a period of 16 years, 2006 in the case of Dominion University, a period of 13 years, eight and five years for Trinity and Greenfield universities respectively.

He added that they had all gone through stringent assessments leading to the final approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on being satisfied that the eleven requirements and the fourteen steps, for licensing of private universities had been met.

He insisted that the number of universities is inadequate to meet with the nation’s annual demand for access to university education, saying the future of university education in Nigeria, like the world over,  rests on private initiatives.

Rasheed said fforts must continue in the direction of establishing more universities for enhanced access.

While warning that NUC was not ready to sacrifice access on the altar of quality said this was one of the reasons why the Commission would continue to beam searchlight on the governance of private universities to ensure adherence to best practices in support of quality university education delivery.

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The Chairman Board of Trustees of Dominion University, Ibadan, Oyo State,  Bishop Taiwo Adelakun, who spoke on behalf of institutions, pledged to ensure that the guidelines and extant laws strictly complied in the operations of the new universities.

He thanked the Federal Government for given the promoters of the new universities the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of university education in the country, stressing that the long and rigorous process of application and approval have prepared everyone of them to put the best in providing quality education for students.

He said the Dominion University, which would be Information and Communication Technology (ICT)  driven is expected to take off in October, 2019 with 500 students.

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