Written by Godfrey AKON

NUC approves upgrade of 3 Delta institutions to varsities

As part of efforts to expand access to university education, the National Universities Commission, NUC, has approved the upgrade of three tertiary institutions in Delta State to universities.

Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, gave the approval on Friday during a visit by a delegation of Delta State officials led by the State Governor, Dr. Ifanyi Okowa, to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

The institutions upgraded include: Delta State College of Education, Agbor now converted to University of Education, Agbor; Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro upgraded to Delta State University of Science and Technology; while Delta State University Anwai Campus was upgraded to Denise Osadebe University of Science and Agriculture, Asaba.

Rasheed said the approval brings to four the total number of Delta State-owned universities, making it the state with the highest number of approved universities.

"After today, Delta State will make history as the state with the largest number of approved universities. With these three universities, Delta will have four state universities, making it the state with the largest number of universities in the country," he said.

He added that following the three new additions, the total number of public universities in the country has also increased to 98; 45 Federal and 53 states, while expressing confidence that the institutions will improve access to university education in the state.

He lamented that polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria are only surviving because of running dual modes where degrees are offered in affiliation with universities alongside OND and NCE programmes.

According to him, Okowa's decision to convert the institutions to universities was a demonstration of his strategic knowledge of what the people of Delta State want.

While disclosing that the three new universities bring the total number of universities in the country to 197, out of which 98 are public and 99 private, he said the total enrollment in Nigerian universities is only 2.1 students.

Earlier, the Governor of Delta State, Okowa, said the Delta state Assembly had passed an executive bill on Monday, February 22, 2021 to upgrade the three state institutions to universities.

According to him, the reasons for upgrading the institutions is because in the last decade, there has been a sharp decline in demand for programmes in institutions other than universities, adding that because of the decline, the college of education Agbor has about 50 per cent of its students running degree programmes.

He said the state government believes that the action it has taken will help consolidate on the provision of tertiary education to the state.

Okowa noted that the state university in Abraka has reached its full carrying capacity, forcing candidates to seek admissions in expensive private universities or mushroom universities abroad, adding that as a government, the state cannot continue that way.

“In Delta State University, for 2019/2020 admission, 25358 candidates chose the university as first choice, out of which 22,358 qualified but only 4,854 candidates were admitted,” he said



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