The Nigerian Government approved six new colleges of education this week. That is a tough call when the same government has been complaining that funding is tight. Yet, if you look at the whole thing, you will agree that these politicians are not necessarily out of sync. I will not like a scenario where only UNN is the only university in South-East Nigeria, admitting say only 500 engineering students yearly. Sure, standards would be better with more funding per student, but many would be denied access.
Go back to your village, say 70-80 years ago, they used to select representatives to send to universities (then mainly polytechnics like IMT Enugu, Yaba Tech, UCI etc). Largely, very competent people could not find space. But with improved access, many started going to schools – that is a good thing, even though that same trajectory reduced quality.
The federal government has approved the establishment of six new federal colleges of education in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.
A spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Gooong, confirmed this to PREMIUM TIMES Thursday night.
The new institutions would be located at Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Sokoto, and Edo States.
A letter signed by the permanent secretary in the ministry of education, Sunny Echono, said an inspection was due for May 11 to “facilitate early take-off.’
The Osun school is to be located in Iwo Local Government Area, PREMIUM TIMES learned.
While I like the expansion of access, I also note a really challenging future for private universities in Nigeria. My prediction is this: more than 20% of private universities in Nigeria will be out of business in the next 3 years. Because this Covid-19 pandemic will take longer for families to recover, public schools will become more attractive. My model shows that private universities are competing in the 70-40% range of the middle class in Nigeria. Those above 70% prefer to send their children to North America, UK or Ghana. With Covid-19 dislocation, the 70-40% will shrink on absolute financial capacities, denying private universities target markets.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) must have a process in place to ensure students are protected. What happened in Abia State College of Education where the government forgot a school and its students to collapse when the teachers went on strike MUST not be a standard playbook. If private universities struggle, students should be assisted into other schools.