Should regulatory authorities in Nigeria approve all the applications they received, the number of universities in the West African country would more than double.
The National Universities Commission, NUC, said it is currently processing over 200 applications for new private universities in the country.
Currently, the total number of universities in the country, with over 150 million population, is 153.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Abubakar Rasheed, announced the applications during a meeting with federal universities’ bursars in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr. Rasheed said “the university system is growing” and private universities including federal and state universities can no longer cope with the large numbers of yearly applications for admission.
“Nigeria has 153 universities, 40 are federal universities, 45 are state owned universities and 68 are private universities presently in the country,” he said.
Similarly, Christine Ikpeme, a professor from the University of Calabar told PREMIUM TIMES that the idea of such high number of private universities is good, but they should be better regulated.
“Some private universities engage in sharp practices whereby they ‘rent’ lecturers from other institutions during accreditation processes. This is not ideal.”
“NUC does not pay unscheduled visits to these universities so it is easy for them to get away with such practices,” Mr. Ikpeme said.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported Mr. Rasheed as saying the future of higher education in the country lies with how the private universities are managed. He said private universities should be able to fill the gap created by insufficient universities.
“NUC is concerned about the sanctity, quality, and integrity of degrees acquired by the students,” he added.
The NUC recently approved the 153rd university known as the Moshood Abiola University of Technology.
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