The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has called for an embargo on the establishment of new public and private universities in the country.
The registrar of the board, Is-haq Oloyede, said emphasis should rather be placed on developing the 170 universities in the country.
According to the National Universities Commission, (NUC), Nigeria has 43 federal universities, 48 state universities and 79 private universities.
According to Punch newspaper, Mr Oloyede said this on Friday while speaking at the 4th convocation lecture of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State.
In its weekly bulletin, the registrar said there was need to place an embargo on the establishment of new universities so that the country’s existing institutions could be adequately catered to.
“Since education is everybody’s business, all Nigerians should support the effort towards educational development. Universities should not be established just to boost the ego of rich individuals and politicians, ” the Punch newspaper quoted the registrar as saying.
Mr Oloyede restated the recommendations of the 2017 Presidential Retreat on Education which made a case for a declaration of a state of emergency on the education sector.
The registrar advocated increased funding of education in the country “by committing nothing less than 15 per cent the national budget to the sector”.
PREMIUM TIMES in April reported how the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, said it is processing about 303 new applications for the establishment of private universities in Nigeria.
He said 208 out of the 303 applications are on ‘step 3’ in the processing of their applications.
“Sixty-three applicants representing 20.79 per cent of the total applicants, are on step 6 having only submitted their completed application forms and strategic documents and are waiting for first verification visit, while 30 applicants, representing 9.9 per cent are on step 8 and have had first verification visit conducted to their proposed university campuses.”
He said two of the applicants, representing 0.66 per cent, have attained step 10 and the second verification visit has been conducted for them.
He did not elaborate on the specifics of the process.
But Mr Rasheed said the 75 private universities in Nigeria account for less than six per cent of students’ population in the country’s university system.
He said some of the challenges confronting Nigerian universities are partly internal, ranging from funding, admission processes and (not) getting enough candidates as in the case of private universities.
Meanwhile, the JAMB registrar, in April accused the private universities of “aiding academic corruption in the country”.
He said private university operators “are going against many laws guiding university operations in Nigeria”.