‘Why Nigeria Needs More Varsities’

The 222 Universities in Nigeria are not enough to address the growing population and the eligible candidates who applied for University education on yearly basis but could not get admission due to space in the country.

The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed who said this added that the country needs an influx of universities in order for it to measure up to the population and the eligible candidates who applied for university education on yearly basis but could not get the admission due to space. 

Rasheed stated this when a high-powered delegation from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) led by the Chairman of the Governing Council, Professor Emeritus Peter Okebukola, OFR, last Friday, 24th March, 2023, visited the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, in his office.

The NUC scribe said Nigeria currently, Nigeria has 222 universities comprising of 50 federal, 61 states and 111 privately-owned universities, adding that, however, the total enrolment of all of them accounted for only 2.5% of the 200 million populations.

He stated that Nigeria needed more universities considering the population and the eligible candidates who applied for university education on yearly basis but could not get the admission due to space. 

Receiving the team, Professor Rasheed expressed his elation to host such delegation, stating that the name of Professor Okebukola resonates in higher education ecosystem due to his contribution and support to the entire Nigerian University System (NUS).

He said Professor Okebukola left NUC as the Executive Secretary more than two decades ago but had remained very apt and relevant to the system. He therefore thanked God Almighty for sparing his life and encouraged him to continue to intervene in the quality assurance activities.

The NUC Scribe also said that the NOUN Council Chairman had done a lot in revitalizing higher education which had been identified as critical and crucial in the efforts towards finding solutions to the challenge bedeviling the nation.

Talking about NOUN, he said, the Council was blessed with erudite and experienced Council members as well as a determined Vice-Chancellor. The University, according to him, had been the largest institution with campuses all over the country, adding that it produced graduates up to PhD levels that represented divergent disciplines.

The Executive Secretary said that the University had also created enabling ground and opportunity for personalities and intellectuals to further their education in spite of their tight schedules thereby using the platform to actualize their dreams. He cited the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who took a Masters and PhD degrees from the University as one of the beneficiaries of the intellectual advancement through the medium.

The NUC Scribe recognized the harmonious working relationship between the University Council led by

Professor Emeritus Peter Okebukola and the management of the University headed by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olufemi Peters. He described both as highly competent Council and Management members.

Harping on Corona Pandemic, the Executive Secretary said it had changed the narrative of how

universities were run including mode of course delivery and processes, adding that this had forced universities to borrow a leaf from the workings and model operation of NOUN. He opined that online delivery mode was seen as a strong option where professors could share knowledge besides being physically present at the lecture hall.

Professor Rasheed also welcomed the guest lecturer and current Vice-Chancellor University of South Africa (UNISA) Professor Edith Dinong Phasunam, describing her as an erudite Scholar and an astute administrator. 

He stated that she became the first female Vice-Chancellor of the University after 150 years of its existence. This, he continued, attested to her academic substance and administrative prowess,

stressing that her appointment would inspire other women in Africa while her invitation to be NOUN’S

a guest lecturer would also have a positive impact on women particularly in NOUN.

The Executive Secretary explained that UNISA was said to be the largest Open Distance Learning (ODL) institution in Africa and the largest standing dedicated Open Distance Education (ODE) University in the world. 

He informed the delegation that NUC regulated, advised and coordinated activities of the Nigerian

University System (NUS) as well as processed applications for the establishment of new universities in Nigeria.

The executive secretary also mentioned that NOUN created a huge opportunity for those wishing to actualize their dreams in earning a degree to do so while combining it with their career or business, adding that NOUN had the largest graduates cutting across several disciplines. 

He expressed NUC’s satisfaction with activities of NOUN and commended Professor Okebukola and his team for the milestone recorded in the institution.

In her remarks, the guest lecturer and first female Vice-Chancellor of UNISA appreciated the Executive Secretary and his management for the warm reception accorded them at such a short notice.

She said her University would be willing to partner with Nigerian universities and foster collaboration in a number of programmes and projects particularly in research and innovation. She particularly mentioned that NOUN and UNISA could collaborate on social justice, African education, African heritage and knowledge system to reclaim the African esteemed position in the comity of nations.

Professor Phasunam encouraged NUC to take up the Challenge by facilitating the process of making the universities to research and translate such works of great leaders into fruition thereby reclaiming theAfrican knowledge system.


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