The Executive Secretary of the National University Commission, NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, has said that the number of universities in Nigeria was too small given its population.
He charged individuals and organisations to invest in education by establishing private universities.
Delivering the convocation lecture of the Fountain University, Osogbo, Mr. Rasheed explained that Nigeria has just over a hundred universities for a population of over 180 million people.
During the convocation, a total of 198 graduands got first degrees while honourary degrees were conferred on two eminent Nigerians, Sakariyau Babalola and Yusuf Ali.
Mr. Babalola who is the Deputy President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, was conferred with Doctor of Science while Mr. Ali who is the Pro Chancellor of Osun State University was conferred with Doctor of Letters for their respective contributions to educational development in the country.
In his lecture, the NUC Executive Secretary insisted that Nigeria needs more universities if it would be able to compete favourably with other countries across the globe. He said the number of universities in the country currently cannot meet the demand for university
education by the citizenry.
He said the future of higher education in the country lies with how the private universities are managed, saying that the private universities should be able to fill the gap created by insufficient universities.
He disclosed that the NUC would soon convoke a summit for private universities in the country to review their activities, fine-tune their operations and assist them to be able to attain their goals.
He said NUC was trying to be flexible with the private universities so as to enable them survive and sustain their operation. He said this became necessary considering the challenges facing the private universities in the country.
He expressed worry that no private university is able to fill its quota in admission as most of them could only fill 40 per cent of their quotas.
“There is need to ask questions about why the private universities are unable to fill their quotas despite that there is admission demand. This is a very serious issue and NUC and JAMB are worried about this.”
“Therefore, we shall convoke a summit for private universities early this year to consider how best the private universities could operate and function maximally to be able to help the country”.
In his address, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the university, AbdulLateef Usman said the students completed their studies, satisfied all requirements for the awards in various disciplines and are found worthy in learning and character.
The VC reiterated the commitment of Fountain University to academic excellence and assured that the university would not relent in pursuing core objectives in the area of quality lectures, tutorials, conduct of practical sessions and research as well as entrepreneurial studies.
Dignitaries at the occasion include Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; the Executive Secretary of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Isaq Oloyede; the Timi of Ede, Munirudeen Adesola; and the Chief Imam of Osogbo, Musa Animasaun among others.