The National Universities Commission (NUC) says it has constituted a committee to make university education accessible to the teeming population, who are seeking tertiary education in Nigeria.
Executive Secretary NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said this at a stakeholders’ seminar organised by the University of Bradford and Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), in Abuja.
Rasheed, represented by Mr Chris Maiyaki, a Director in his office, said the commission was worried over the country’s growing population and the high demand for tertiary education.
He said that Nigeria’s 143 universities could only accommodate 500,000 students which is 6.7 percent of admission seekers.
“Nigeria is projected to be the third largest population by the year 2050. The concern of NUC is how to educate this number of the population when the time comes,” he said.
“The NUC just commissioned a committee headed by Prof. Peter Okebukola to bring out a blueprint that will help the country to survive the population.
“As you know that on annual basis, we have 7.5 million students aspiring to get admission to the universities, unfortunately, the available 143 universities put together can only admit 500,000 students,” he said
The Executive Secretary said the commission was making efforts to ensure that Nigerian universities catch up with global happenings.
He commended some Nigerian universities for partnering with UK’s University of Bradford for joint research and teaching.
Seven Nigerian universities have signified interest to join the World Technology Universities Network (WTUN) led by the UK varsity.
They are University of Benin, Edo; University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers; University of Calabar, Cross River; Akwa Ibom State University; University of Uyo; Niger Delta University and African University, Bayelsa.
WTUN is a consortium of universities committed towards the provision of professional and vocational courses with excellent job prospects for graduates in the country.
University of Bradford’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Brian Cantor said the school was developing links with its Nigerian counterparts to use the instrumentality of science and technology to solve national and global problems.
“Because we live in an age of technology, worldwide knowledge-based development either in social or economic sphere, universities play a big role. And partnership is the way to do it,” he said.
He said that the global university network would run students and staff exchanges as well as joint teaching and research programmes.
The Director-General of IPCR, Prof. Oshita Oshita, at the meeting stressed on the need for the country to entrench peace education in its institution’s curriculum.
Oshita said that education was vital to the promotion of peace and mitigation against conflict in the country.