Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has said that the number of universities in the country is too small, given the nation’s population.
He made the comment, yesterday, at the presentation of provisional licences to 20 newly approved private universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja.
With the approval, Nigeria now has 99 private universities, and a total of 197 universities, private and public.
The minister underscored the need to increase the number of universities in the country, taking into consideration the country’s 200 million population.
Adamu, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, noted that private universities have contributed to the opening up of admission space for the swelling population of candidates seeking university education in the country.
To him, the argument in some quarters that private universities have become too many in Nigeria, is not plausible, noting that comparative figures of universities in other countries show that Nigeria needs more universities.
“Government is also well aware that countries that are consistently well-ranked in human development indices have, in recognition of the important role of universities in human capital development, maintained a respectable number of universities relative to their population.
“In relation to Nigeria’s population of over 200 million, the current 193 universities is quite low when compared to those of other economies such as Brazil (209 million), 441 universities; Mexico (126million), 375 universities and Russia (1445 million), 741 universities,” the minister explained.
According to him, “In 2019, the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) announced that out of over 1.8 million candidates registered for the UTME, only 612,000 were admitted in Nigerian universities representing 34 per cent.
This shows gross inadequacy in terms of access. The above scenario indicates that Nigeria needs more universities.”