Chris Steven, Abuja
Federal Government has approved eight additional private universities to create more access to tertiary education for Nigerian youths.
Prior to the approval,there were a total of 143 universities in Nigeria, but with Wednesday’s approval the total number of universities has risen to 151 out of which 69 are private.
The new universities and their promoters include,Anchor University, Ayobo, Lagos (promoted by the Deeper Christian Life Ministry); Arthur Jarvis University, Akpabuyo, Cross River State (promoted by The Clitter House Nigeria Limited); Clifford University, Owerrinta, Abia State (promoted by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Others are Coal City University, Enugu (promoted by African Thinkers Community of Inquiry College of Education, Enugu; Crown-Hill University, Eiyenkorin, Kwara (promoted by Modern Morgy and Sons Limited); Dominican University, Ibadan (promoted by the Order of Preachers, Nigerian Dominican Community); Kola Daisi University, Ibadan (promoted by Kola Daisi Foundation) and Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State (promoted by the Good Idea Education Foundation).
Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka who briefed State House correspondents on the development,said each of the new universities have gone through compliance test by the National Universities Commission(NUC) to warrant the approval.
Anwuka said,”The Ministry of Education submitted a memo to Council seeking approval for 8 private universities as recommended by NUC after very serious,comprehensive and exhaustive compliance to the conditions that warrant such approval.
“The idea behind approving these universities is to ensure that the teeming population of Nigerian students seeking admission into Universities are given the opportunity to do so.
“While approving these universities for licensing provisionally for 3 years, the Universities would be mentored by some existing older universities in Nigeria.
“For instance,Clifford university will be mentored by University of Agriculture, Umudike,Coal City University will be mentored by University of Nigeria, Nsukka while Crown-Hill University will be mentored by University of Ilorin among others.
“Their provisional license for 3 years will be revisited to make sure that they are doing the needful in providing meaningful responsive education to Nigerian youths”.
He explained that assigning mentor institutions to the new universities was in conformity with Education Act Cap E3 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
“It is implemented by the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education. So, it is part of the requirements and older universities old enough within the university zone where each of the new universities has been approved is given the mandate to oversee and mentor the new universities in terms of academic culture.
“The provisional license is for 3 years within which period they must have learnt the art of university governance and academic details. So, there must be some near-by big brothers that make sure you don’t operate outside the scope of what you are expected to do within the university structure,”he said.
Minister of Information and Culture,Lai Mohammed who collaborated Anwuka’s views,said the law is very specific on issues of mentorship and other requirements.
He said each of the mentoring universities would among other issues ensure that the correct appointment of the governing council members are made.
According to the Information Minister,such mentorship would also ensure the recruitment of appropriate principal officers both academic and administrative,including availability of human and material resources for the commencement of any academic performance.
“They also have the responsibility to ensure implementation of carrying capacity. They would assist in staff development. They must also modulate students’ examination, guarantee quality assurances of the universities.
“They also have responsibility to moderate admission and also moderate external examination even the older universities were also mentored by universities abroad.
“We believe that we have reached the situation whereby our own universities are capable of mentoring other universities,”he said.