By Boluwatife Adedokun
The Federal Government of Nigeria, on April 6, approved the establishment of 12 private universities, adding to the existing institutions in the school.
Amidst the economic recession ravaging the country and the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), academic stakeholders in the country have described the latest as a misplaced priority in the educational industry.
While some quarters see it as a round peg in the square hole of the Federal Government, others expect the move to foster the smooth running of educational system.
In interviews gathered by this reporter, some students frowned at the action of the Federal Government, while some opined that it is a commendable action.
While speaking, a student of University of Maiduguri, Zainab Yetunde Adam affirmed that, they should settle with ASUU before approving more Universities.
“The time, energy and money that the new ones need to function can be used to ameliorate the educational sector in Nigeria pending the time we will need more vasity. This seems like a misplacement of priority” she noted
Sharing his own opinion, a student of ibadan polytechnic, Olajuwon olamilekan affirmed that it’s a good idea, it will give privilege to those who find challenges in going to top universities. He emphasized further that, some students can easily gain admission since the processing is fast.
A student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Abdulmumeen Adetimirin, explained that, there’s nothing wrong in the action of federal government, because they don’t run like state or federal owned universities.
“They sort out their issues, generate their revenue internally and as we know they are not under any federal association involving universities take for instance Asuu.
Their decisions are taken by board members which usually involves many people unlike federal universities or state where decision can solely be taken by the governor or president”
He affirmed that their calendar run smoothly unlike federal or state universities which are affected by incessant strikes, though they may have internal crises but overall they are preferable in terms of manpower, comfort, conducive environment,easy access to learning facilities etc.
He said “something unfavourable about private universities is the exorbitant school fees which makes it only available to the wealthy people”
A student of the same institution, Abubakir Jamiu, while explaining his own view noted that it’s a process to bastardise the public universities, people will soon be seeing that institutions as savage pathway in the nearest future because what you will use seven years to study in public universities will be run with just three years.
He said “The government should give more attention to the existing public universities, when public universities are running smoothly nobody will think of going to private schools”
The situation of educational sector in Nigeria is degrading daily and it’s getting deteriorated beyond imagination.
Speaking on the recent development, a student of Bayero university, Amusan Latifat asserted that, the lack of proper planning for the educational needs of the country, which should involved the standard, location, type and model of basic schools, high schools and universities, suggests that the proliferation of schools creates more problems than it solves.
“As a country, even with the steady, unbroken string of civilian administrations, we have not been able to reach the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO) recommendation, that developing nations should give up to 15-20 per cent of their annual budget to public education”
Speaking further, Latifat said ” In the 2022 budget, valued at N17 trillion, only 7.2 per cent was allocated to education, even with the proliferation of universities. It means that for education to fulfill its role of increasing economic efficiency and social consistency to the point of helping to raise the poor from poverty, it will continue to suffer funding shortages that will stifle running costs, truncate research advancements, result in lack of infrastructural development, encourage further brain drain, prevent institutions from having laboratories, electricity, staff offices, libraries, students’ hostels, administrative blocks, recreation centres, good road network and undoubtedly lead to more strikes as is currently the case between government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).”
Commenting also on the approval of the Universities, Iyanuoluwa Emmanuel, a student of federal University of Oye Ekiti noted that, this is a wrong decision by the federal government.
“How will they approve 12 universities when will have the existing ones not fully funded by them. It’s indeed the wrong think even at the wrong time, when asuu are still on strike”