ASUU, students union leader bemoan proliferation of universities in Nigeria
On Thursday January 4, 2021, Some stakeholders in University education in Nigeria, warned against the proliferation of universities in the country, following Wednesday’s approval of 20 new private universities by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
According to report,in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Benin, the stakeholders made it known that there was nothing to justify the approval, when the existing universities were neither adequately funded nor properly monitored to ensure compliance, with appropriate guidelines.
Prof. Monday Omoregie, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, University of Benin chapter, stated that he had started to see approval more universities as political patronage, regardless of admonitions, to the relevant authorities, on the intrinsic peril.
Prof.Omoregie went further to assert that expanding the existing universities would perform the functions the new ones were established to do.In his statement, education remains the vibrant instrument for development, for this reason the government need to do the needful in ensuring that the schools are run the way they are supposed to.
“Education is a social service, but these private universities are established by investors, who believe in profit making.
“The guideline is that private universities must be run for 15 years before any plan of making profit, but which university can do that”, he asked, saying that within a year of establishment, many proprietors would begin to crave gain.
Speaking in a similar vein, Prof. Monday Igbafen, Chairman of ASUU, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said that establishment of more universities, without proper recourse to the challenges facing the existing ones, was what the union had been trying to criticise.
“How do you justify the existence of additional universities, when there is this cry that even the private universities that are running now lack proper monitoring, to see if they comply with the NUC guidelines and what is required to run a university.
“They are all just centres of where they collect people’s money. That is why most of us are getting worried about the education system in the country”, he said.
On hearing that the approval might be to expand access to university education, Igbafen said that if properly funded one university in the country might take a half of the population of prospective university students.
“ABU (Ahmadu Bello University) can cater for almost half the population of students we admit in this country, but there is nothing on ground to sustain an ideal university.
“When you carry out objective assessment of these universities, you discover that they are not really universities; they are just there to divert our attention where the rich ones can send their children, whereas they will not be properly trained in terms of developing minds
Additionally responding, Benjamin Egwu, the President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), said that the Proliferation of private universities would before long disable the standard and patronage of public universities.
“The attention of students is being diverted to the private universities,cause the situation of our public universities is worrisome. The incessant industrial action by the ASUU is one factor, while lack of proper funding is another.
“There is no need for the approval of more universities for now. These private universities are to shift attention from public school, because there is no much care about facilities in the public universities.
“The public universities are dying and if the situation is not properly checked, it will lead to what is currently happening to public primary and secondary schools in the country.
“If you compare the public and private primary and secondary schools, the difference is clear. It is affecting the system negatively and that is now moving to the higher institutions.
“It is getting to a situation where commoners would also not want to train his children in the public universities because of the environment”, he said.
However, Egwu moaned about the old condition of the facilities in the public university, saying regardless of whether state or federal, when you work into universities ,what you will find in its library are books of 1980s, 1990s “There are no update-to-date books in the libraries as we speak.
Just ask the librarian when last they updated their shelves.“The auditorium we are using at the University of Benin was built in 1981; about 40 years ago, without maintenance”, Egwu said. (NAN).