Nigeria must invest in education or prepare to invest in prisons, cemeteries – Governor

Education facility
FILE PHOTO: Students in a classroom

The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, says Nigerian leaders should be prepared to build more prisons and cemeteries if they fail to invest in education.

The governor said there is a direct relationship between the unrest in the Niger Delta and the low level of education, unemployment and under-employment.

Mr Dickson said this in Abuja on Thursday while receiving the letter of recognition and approval for Bayelsa Medical University at the headquarters of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

“We sit here and all our children are going to neighbouring countries and they are paying in dollars. Nigerians are hungry for good and quality education. The enrolment figures have increased in our schools so we have to think of the third and a specialised university,” he said.

Mr Dickson said funding is one of the reasons for the depreciation of universities in Nigeria.

“Nigeria universities cannot afford to be cheaper than our nursery and primary schools and this is the fault of our government. When it comes to nursery and primary schools, we pay higher but when it comes to funding universities, we play politics with it,” he said.

The Executive Secretary of NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, said the university will become the 48th state university in the country with effect from January 31.

He urged the state government to adhere strictly to the technical advice which includes the rules and regulation of the commission.

“There are 169 universities in the country, 43 are owned by the federal government, 47 are owned by state government, 75 are privately owned,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria now has four specialised medical universities in Nigeria.

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“Bayelsa state university is now the second medical public university in Nigeria and the fourth medical university in Nigeria. The public medical universities are situated in Port Harcourt and Lagos State while the two private medical universities are in Ondo State and Bayelsa State,” he said.

The four medical universities are Bayelsa State Medical University, Ondo State University of Medical Sciences, PAMO University of Medical Sciences in Port Harcourt and Eko University of Medical Sciences, Lagos.

He said JAMB, TETFUND and NYSC had been informed of the creation of the university.

Mr Rasheed said about one per cent of Nigeria’s population is in the university.

“The reason for more universities is because the 169 universities have a total enrolment of only two million students and we are a population of about 2000 million people. If you google search, you will find out that countries with only one-third of our population have up to 500 universities,” he said.

The Federal Executive Council approved the establishment of four new private universities in January.

The new universities are Greenfield University, Kaduna; Dominion University, Ibadan Oyo State; Trinity University, Ogun State and Westland University in Iwo, Osun State.

GUIDELINES FOR ESTABLISHING A HIGHER INSTITUTION IN NIGERIA

Pursuant to the recommendations of the Commission on the Review of Higher Education in Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria has approved guidelines for the establishment of higher institutions of learning in Nigeria.

Relevant excerpts contained in the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) (Amendment Decree No. 9 of 1993 are reproduced here under:-

19A. An institution of Higher Education may be sponsored or owned by the Government of the Federation or of a State or Local Government or by any of the following, that is:-

a. By a Company incorporated in Nigeria: or

b. By an individual or association of individuals who are citizens of Nigeria, and who satisfy the criteria set out in the Schedule to this Act for establishment of institutions.

19B-(1) Application for the establishment of an institution of higher education shall be made to the Minister:-

a. in the case of a University, through the National Universities Commission:

b. in the case of a Polytechnic or College of Agriculture, through the National Board for Technical Education;

c. in the case of a College of Education, through the National Commission for Colleges of Education; and

d. in any other case, through the Director-General of the Federal Ministry of Education, in accordance with the guidelines prescribed for making the application.

(2) No State, Local Government or tertiary institution shall benefit from the education tax with respect to a tertiary institution unless the application for the establishment of that tertiary institution was made in accordance with the provision of subsection (1) of this section.

(3) No person shall be granted approval to establish an institution of higher education unless the criteria set out in the Schedule to this Act have been satisfied.

CRITERIA FOR ESTABLISHING AN INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION

(1) The academic structure and spread of discipline of the institution shall be such as would cater for areas of felt needs.

(2) 1. Evidence shall be produced to show that the institution would be provided with adequate:-

(a) Funding, both Capital and Recurrent;

(b) Academic and Support Staff.

2. The proposed staffing guidelines shall meet with current guidelines of :-

(a) The National Universities Commission; or

(b) The National Board for Technical Education; or

(c) The National Commission for Colleges of Education, as the case may be.

(3) The Federal Government must be satisfied that, on approval being given, the sources of funding and necessary funds will be available.

(4) The Federal Government or its accredited agency shall ascertain and be satisfied itself that:-

(a) The fixed and enabling assets, that is, funds, land, movable and immovable assets, are appropriate for establishing the institution in the light of such factors as:-

i. The type of institution envisaged
ii. Its philosophy and objectives,

iii. The cost of goods and services prevailing at the time;

(b) The assets shall be assigned to the institution on approval being given for the institution to be established; and

(c) That the applicant has supplied a concrete and guaranteed source of financial support for the University to the tune of N200 million, N100 million for Polytechnic or Mono technic, and N50 million for a College of Education, over a period of 5 years.

(5) (1) A proposed institution shall have clearly spelt out master plan for infrastructural and programme development for at least 20 to 25 years which shall make adequate provision for:-

(a) Plan space, aesthetic beauty and fixed final assets;

(b) Minimum land area of 100 hectares for a University, 50 hectares for a Polytechnic or Monotechnic and 25 hectares for a College of Education, in a salutary site.

(2) The site distance from an urban complex shall take into account availability of municipal services, including water, transportation, private accommodation, communication and other consequential inadequate in its Community.

(6) (1) A proposed institution shall have an adequate environment base and shall be open to all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic derivation, social status, religious or political persuasion.

(2) Accordingly, its laws and status shall not conflict with the conventional responsibilities in academia or interfere with avowed traditional institutional autonomy.

(7) To pre-empt problems of inadequate municipal facilities, the proposed institution shall have a clear policy on student and staff accommodation and catering services.

(8) The proposed institution shall have a well-articulated mission and set of objectives which may be original and innovative but unequivocally in consonance with the socio-economic and political aspirations of Nigeria.

(9) To create and sustain credibility and confidence from the start, the administrative structure of the proposed institution shall not depart too radically from established norms.

(10) The library, laboratory and workshop facilities including instructional tools and consumables, shall be adequate and there shall be long-range plans for sustaining them.

(11) The planning and feasibility report of the proposed institution include proposed contracts and affiliation with existing similar institutions and plans for cooperation and interaction.

(12) The criteria set out in this Schedule shall also apply to a proposed institution which is an Open University except that:-

(a)The minimum land area requirement shall not apply; and

(b) Guidelines prescribed by the appropriate authority as regard technical infrastructure for functional and effective operation shall be satisfied

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