The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Monday said the 75 private universities Nigeria account for less than six per cent of students’ population in the country’s university system.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Abubakar Rasheed, disclosed this at a retreat organised for Vice Chancellors of Nigerian universities in Abuja.
According to Daily Trust newspaper, the Executive Secretary said the number of students being admitted each year by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) was more than what the 75 private universities enroll in four years.
“The private universities are the largest in terms of number 75 (out of 164), and the way it is going, in the next few years this number will continue to increase. Of course, if you look at the total enrollment of the private universities, they account for less than six per cent. These 75 universities do not have up to six per cent,” he said.
According to Mr Rasheed, the largest university in the country, Open University, “what it admits in one year is more than what the 75 universities admit in four years.”
He said NOUN admits over 100, 000 every year, has 450,000 students and is targeting 750,000 in the next few years.
He said a total re-engineering of the universities curriculum and reviewing of existing curriculum is necessary for quality assurance in the system.
“Our system is growing with 164 universities with about two million enrollments and over 50,000 academic teachers in the universities.”
He said the commission and Nigerian universities must reinvent themselves to attain global standard in the education sector.
“We have a very large growing system which means we have to be coming periodically to review and maintain common quality assurance so that the difference does not become too wide.”
He said some of the challenges confronting Nigerian universities are partly internal, ranging from funding, handling admission processes and getting enough candidates as in the case of private universities.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Association of Vice Chancellors of Private Universities, Debo Adeyemo, called for a roadmap that would strengthen the quality assurance of the university system.
“Without quality assurance, there is nothing we can do. We need to provide a roadmap for others to follow. Quality assurance should be given its rightful place.
“It is time we are united as a common front. The quality assurance in the university system should be at par with any other university outside Nigeria.”
Mr Adeyemo said the leadership of the universities were working hard to synergise on how to move the system forward.