Written by Godfrey AKON

Nigeria’s university population rises to two million


Student population in Nigerian universities has risen to 2 million, representing about 1 per cent of the total population of the country.


Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, disclosed this in Abuja at a 2-day retreat for Governing Councils of Nigerian Universities where he also said only 61,000 academics are currently in the system.


Rasheed, who decried the ratio of lecturers to students in the institutions as grossly inadequate, added that in Oxford University, London, there are 17,000 students and 13,000 academics.


While noting that governance was at the heart of higher education sectors across the world, he lamented the failure of governance structures and processes in Nigerian universities, stating that they reveal a disheartening situation.


He said “Nigerian universities are characterized by poor leadership, corrupt practices, avoidable conflicts, general underperformance, profound parochialism and inadequate teaching and learning environment.”


According to him, the consequences of poor leadership and bad governance have combined to undermine the capacity of Nigerian Universities to actualize their core mandates of teaching, research and community service.


“Poor leadership and bad governance are constituting themselves into stumbling blocks in the universities and are making it difficult for universities to generate original Knowledge, build character, drive innovation and contribute significantly towards national development.


“To a large extend therefore many of the manifest problems of Nigerian universities today are traceable to the governance and leadership which frustrate effective and efficient management of the institutions’ human, financial material and reputational capitals,” he stated.


Rasheed said the governance problems forced NUC in collaboration with the committee of Pro chancellors to organize the two-day retreat for chairmen of councils, vice chancellors, registrars and bursars of all 42 federal universities in the country.


Also speaking, the Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwukah, who noted that Nigerian universities are not producing what the industries want, said government was proposing the idea of sending students for one more year of internship after graduation, as an additional year of finishing school.


Anwukah said Nigerian Graduates were constantly rejected by the industry and authorities were concerned about the failure of the relationship between universities and the industry, urging the councils to factor into their discussions ways of improving such relationship.


According to him, the programme would replace the student industrial work experience scheme, SIWES, under a new name called one year re-schooling.




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