The approval of establishing more new private universities in Nigeria has been condemned by some stakeholders in University education in Nigeria.
Naija News reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council meeting, consented to the establishment of 20 new private universities in Nigeria.
Reacting to the development while interacting with reporters in Benin yesterday, the varsity stakeholders said private universities in Nigeria are just money collection center. In their submissive, there was nothing to justify the approval when the existing universities were neither adequately funded nor properly monitored to ensure compliance, with appropriate guidelines.
The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Benin chapter, Prof. Monday Omoregie, who spoke with the NAN, described the approval of more universities by the government as political patronage, despite warnings, to the relevant authorities, on the inherent danger.
According to Omoregie, improving existing institutions would perform the functions the new ones were established to do. He noted that education remains the vibrant instrument for development, hence there is the need for the government to act right in the running of educational institutions.
He said: “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.
On his part, Prof. Monday Igbafen, Chairman of ASUU, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said the union has been fighting over the same course. He described as worrisome the establishment of more universities without proper recourse to the challenges facing the existing ones.
“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.
Igbafen stated that if properly funded, one university in the country might take 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 an 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.
“It is all about just dishing out degrees; not necessarily interested in the content and quality of the product. It is just about giving out first class and what is important is to get money. I think it is necessary for the government to reflect on some of all these decisions that they have taken.
“If we have to advance the course of our educational development in this country, it is not through proliferation of both private and public universities,” he added.