The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Tuesday presented provisional licence to Skyline University, Kano, to begin operation.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Abubakar Rasheed, presented the licence to the proprietor of the university, Kamal Puri, an Indian businessman and educationist.
It becomes the first private university in Kano, arguably Nigeria’s most populous state, and the second private university in the North-west region of the country. The region has seven states.
Al-Qalam University in Katsina State, the first private university in the region, was established in 2005.
The first private university in Nigeria was licensed in 1999.
According to Mr Rasheed, Skyline University will become the 75th private university in the country.
“There are 42 federal universities in Nigeria, 47 are state-owned while 75 are privately owned. In total, there are 164 universities in Nigeria. For many, the numbers are too large but for those who are in the system, the numbers are few,” he said.
Mr Rasheed urged the proprietor of the new university to adhere strictly to the technical advice which includes the rules and regulations of the commission.
The Executive Secretary also appealed to government at all levels and philanthropists to institute scholarships for indigent students to enable them access quality education.
“There is nothing we can do as a commission to regulate the fees of private institutions. We have 198 million people in Nigeria and it is difficult to say how many universities we need in the country because some of the universities are small,” he said.
He said the 75 private university in Nigeria account for only 5.31 percent of the total enrolment in universities while noting the need either to establish more universities or expand existing ones.
“If you look at the population of 198 million which is close to 200 million, and bear in mind the total enrolment in our universities today, all the 164 universities’ enrolment is slightly less than two million.
“It is 1.961 million students in the universities, which translates to roughly one percent of the population. One per cent of the population are in the university and I think it’s not healthy,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the emergence of private universities in Nigeria has created an environment for healthy competition that stimulates improvement in quality service delivery in the system.
Mr Adamu, who was represented by his ministry’s permanent secretary, Sunny Echono, said substantive licence will be issued to the new university if it is adjudged as being well-managed after three years of probation.
“During the probationary period, the Skyline University will be attached to an older generation university, the Bayero University, Kano, for academic and administrative mentoring to be moderated by NUC,” he said.
Meanwhile, the proprietor of the university, Mr Puri, said technology is advancing, therefore the world needs to prepare the future generation for the task.
He said the institution will bring the best curriculum and technology to Nigerians.
“Skyline is a 28-year operating university in United Arab Emirates, which has run British education, which has run American education, Asian and Middle East in Africa. We have experience of complete global education system,” Mr Puri said.
Also speaking, the deputy governor of Kano State, Hafiz Abubakar, said the state needs a minimum of 10 universities to be able cater for at least 60 per cent of qualified candidates seeking university admission.
“Kano as you know is the most populous state in the country. We have in the basic level of education an enrolment of over N3.804 million in primary, junior and senior secondary schools”, he said.
Mr Abubakar said Kano state has 6,300 primary schools and 7,844 public secondary schools.