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*Intersociety Challenges Reckless Suspension of Part-time Programmes In Nigerian Universities
Professor Julius Okojie
National Universities Commission
Aja Nwachukwu House
Plot 430, Aguiyi Ironsi Street
Maitama District, Abuja, Nigeria
Suspension Of Part-time Programmes In All Nigerian Universities And Allied Matters: Why Nigerian Universities And Access (Right) To Tertiary Education Fail The International Basic Standards For Measurement
(Onitsha Nigeria, 29/07/2012)-“Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels”–Section 18(1) of Chapter Two (Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of State Policy) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended. Section 18(2): “Government shall promote science and technology”. Section 18(3): “Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy; and to this end, Government shall and when practicable provide (a) free, compulsory and universal primary education, (b) free secondary education, (c) free university education; and (d) free adult literacy programme”. “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference”–Section 39 of Chapter Four (Fundamental Human Rights) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
(1) “Every citizen shall have right to education”–Article 17 of the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights of AU 1981 (African Charter on Human & People’ Rights Ratification & Enforcement/Domestication Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1983) as updated.
(2) “Every Nigerian child shall have a right to equal educational opportunities irrespective of any real or imagined disabilities, each according to his or her ability”- Section 1(4c) of the Nigeria’s National Policy on Education 1998. “Nigeria’s philosophy of education is therefore based on: (a) the development of an individual into sound and effective citizen; (b) the full integration of the individual into the community; and (c) the provision of equal access to educational opportunities for all citizens of the country at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels both inside and outside the formal school system”–Section 1(5) of the Nigeria’s National Policy on Education 1998.
(3) Sir, it is on the basis of these that this important letter is predicated. It is recalled that Your Commission had on 25th day of June 2012 announced the suspension of all part-time programmmes run in all universities in Nigeria on excuses that the universities admit over 20% of their student population and conduct the programmes outside the universities’ campuses (use of satellite facilities). The suspension, according to your Commission, is to “streamline” the programmes. Again, on 4th day of July 2012, your Commission announced the suspension of the operational licenses of seven private universities in the country, that is to say: Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Tansian University, Madonna University, Caritas University, Leed City University, Achievers University and Obong University, for “violating the NUC’s guidelines on physical facilities and academic programmes”. The two suspensions were with immediate effect.
We in the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law are deeply concerned over these developments. Without prejudice to powers invested on your Commission by the NUC Act of 1974, the procedures adopted by your Commission in meting out the two suspensions are utterly worrisome and grossly inimical to the inalienable rights of Nigerian citizens to access university education. It is our firm position that if the State of Nigeria finds it “not practical” yet to offer her citizens “free university education”, she has no right to prohibit the conventional processes of assessing tertiary education including university education such as part-time university programmes and private university system. As a matter of fact, it is utterly criminal for the State of Nigeria to put the fate of the teeming part-time university subscribers in Nigerian universities into jeopardy. It is also militarist; draconian and ill conceived for the NUC to summarily suspend the operational licenses of the seven private universities above-mentioned.
It is in view of these and other unhealthy developments militating against the citizens’ right/access to tertiary education in Nigeria; quality performance by Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions at the regional/global rating as well as growth and expansion of the Nigeria’s tertiary education system including university system that we write your Commission with a view to pointing out glaring failures and proffering possible solutions. This Memo, therefore, is predicated on our extensive investigations, nationally, regionally and internationally. It is often said that a reclusive resident or tenant does not know when his or her chattels decay until he or she pays a visit to his or her neighbours. In the course of our extensive investigations, the world’s twenty most populous countries that cut across Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America were surveyed or investigated so as to ascertain their current population size in relation to number of universities or university equivalents in such countries, in the context of population/citizen-university ratio. We also measured some countries with smaller populations in relation to their universities including those whose GDPs were acutely lower than that of Nigeria in the 1960s, i.e. South Korea and Taiwan. The whole idea is to prove to the higher education top policy makers in Nigeria that they have woefully failed Nigerians and that a roughly 160million people with 124 universities and (formerly) 179 semi-university institutions in this jet age, is a clear sign of a country in crisis, monumental confusion and irreversible backwardness.
Our investigations in Nigeria, confirmed by the official websites of the National Universities Commission, created by the NUC Act of 1974; the National Commission for Colleges of Education, created by the NCCE Act of 1989 as amended in 1993; and the National Board for Technical Education, created by the NABTE Act of 1977, showed that presently there are 37 Federal Universities including newly established 12 Federal Universities and two security universities (Police Academy, Kano and Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna), as well as newly upgraded “Universities of Education and Technology/Petroleum Resources”. Also, there are 37 State universities controlled by various States and 50 private universities, bringing the total number of universities in Nigeria to 124. There are a total of (formerly) 99 polytechnics in Nigeria, out of which Federal Government has 38, States 48 and private 13. There are (formerly) 54 Colleges of Education in Nigeria, out of which Federal Government has 21, States 30 and private 3. And there are 27 Monotechnics and specialized post secondary school institutions in Nigeria, out of which 23 are federally owned, 2 are State owned and 2 are privately owned. The Petroleum Training Institute in Warri, Delta State, has been upgraded to a federal university thereby reducing the number to 26.
Further, out of 54 Colleges of Education in Nigeria, four Federal Colleges of Education in Owerri, Kano, Zaria and the Adeyemi College of Education in Ondo State were in 2010 upgraded to the “Federal Universities of Education”, while Federal Polytechnics in Yaba, Lagos and Kaduna were upgraded to “Federal Universities of Technology”, thereby reducing the present number of colleges of education and polytechnics in Nigeria to 50, from 54 and 97 from 99 respectively. As it stands, there are 124 accredited public (Federal and State Governments) and private universities in Nigeria; 97 public and private polytechnics; 50 public and private colleges of education; and 26 public and private monotechnics and specialized post secondary school institutions in Nigeria, bringing the total to 297 universities and semi universities in Nigeria; a country with citizen population of over 158 million (UN & Federal Bureau of Statistics estimates 2011). The 124 universities in Nigeria are generally four-year degree awarding institutions. The 97 polytechnics and 26 monotechnics award two-category degrees of Ordinary National Diploma now called National Diploma (two years tuition plus one year industrial practicals) and Higher National Diploma (two years tuition) or their equivalents. And the 50 colleges of education offer three-year basic certificate programme called Nigerian Certificate in Education or NCE and optional three-year degree certificate programme usually in affiliation with universities, which is called “Bachelors of Education”.
Not only that the 297 tertiary institutions or higher education colleges are grossly inadequate for a country of roughly 160million people, it is also totally shocking that only 124 universities exist in Nigeria to serve 160million people especially considering the fact that over 70% of Nigerian citizens desiring for tertiary-education openly desire to study in the universities. As attested to, by recent statistics by the Joint Admission & Matriculation Board-JAMB, every year, approximately more than one million Nigerians desire to acquire higher education but less than 20% are admitted. In the 2012 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Board Examinations, 1,503.931 students participated. Even those who are admitted are made endangered species by your Commission’s garrison policies. It is either their universities are up-rooted summarily or their programmes put in jeopardy without recourse to conventional procedures. The reported age-long battle between your Commission and the NOUN and recent garrison pronouncements by your Commission are cases in point.
To credibly and objectively assess your Commission’s performances, including its successes and failures, actions and inactions, and strengths and weaknesses as they affect Nigeria’s philosophy on higher education which is largely under your Commission’s midwifery, in comparison with standards outside the shores of the country, we painstakingly investigated the following 20 most populous countries in the world as well as minor populated others. For records Sir, the current world population, according to the 2012 World Population Data Sheet-Population Reference Bureau, is 7,055 billion. The population of the world is growing by 200,000 people every day (World Bank). Out of this whopping figure, Asia has 4,216 billion (North Asia-Russia 143m, Western Asia 238m, South-central Asia 1.8b, South-East Asia 602m, East Asia 1.588b); Africa has 1,051billion (East Africa 336m, West Africa 313m, North Africa 213m, Middle Africa 130m and Southern Africa 58m). The America’s (North & South) & the Caribbean have 942million (North America 346m, South America 396m, Central America 158m and Caribbean 42m). Europe has 740million (Eastern Europe 295m, Western Europe 189m, Southern Europe 155m and Northern Europe 100m). Oceania has 37million.
Countries’ Populations & Number Of Their Universities:
1. China: It has the largest population in the world. According to official estimate from Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, captured in the 2012 World Population Data Sheet, China has 1,347,350,000 people (one billion, three hundred & forty-seven million, three hundred & fifty thousand) or 19.22% of the world population. By the end of 2004, it had 2,236 universities and university colleges. More than 6million students graduated from Chinese universities in 2008 alone, out of student population of 20 million, with private universities accounting for 1.3million university students. More universities might have been established in the country since 2004 owing to its gradual relaxion of its closed society status.
2. India: It has second largest population in the world, with a total of 1.210,193,000 people or 17.26% of the world population (2011 Census of India). It has 567 universities as of June 2012, out of which 112 are privately owned.
3. United States: It has third largest population of 313,478,000 people (three hundred & thirteen million, four hundred & seventy-eight thousand) or 4.47% of the world (2012 US Census Bureau). According to the European University Institute website 2012, quoting the UNESCO 2007, US has the second largest number of higher education institutions in the world with a total of 5,758; an average of more than 115 per State. US has 4,352 degree-awarding institutions offering a four-year curriculum with roughly 120 of them as research universities. Over 2000 of these universities is publicly owned, while the remainders are privately owned.
4. Indonesia: It is the fourth most populated country on earth with 237,141,000 people or 3.37% of world population (2010 Census Badan Pusat Statistik) and has 180 universities.
5. Brazil: Fifth most populous country on earth with 192,376,000 people or 2.74% of the world population (2011 Official Estimate-IBGE). There are 2,368 universities and university colleges in Brazil (2012 WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia).
6. Pakistan: It is the world sixth most populous country (war-torn and poverty-ridden) with 179,522,000 people or 2.56% of the world population (Official Population Clock of Pakistani Statistics Division). There are 132 universities in the country, 73 are public and 59 private.
7. Nigeria: Seventh most populous country on earth with 158,143,000 people or 2.26% of the world population (2010 UN Estimate & Nigeria’s Office of National Statistics). Nigeria has 124 universities, out of which 74 are public and 50 private.
8. Russia: Eight most populated country on earth with 143,056,000 people or 2.04% of the world population (2012 Official Estimate of Federal State Statistics Bureau). Russia, though, a semi-closed society, has 455 universities mostly public funded.
9. Bangladesh: Ninth most populous country on earth with 142,319,000 people or 2.03% of the world population (2011 Census of Bangladesh-Bangladeshi Bureau of Statistics). Bangladesh, one of the world acutely poor countries, has 91 universities.
10. Japan: Tenth most populous country on earth with 127,650,000 people or 1.82% of the world population (2012 Official Japanese Bureau of Statistics). There are 918 universities in Japan.
11. Mexico: Eleventh most populous country on earth with 112,360,000 people or 1.60% of the world population (Mexico’s 2010 Census INEGI). There are 137 universities in Mexico.
12. Philippines: Twelfth most populous country on earth with 92,340,000 people or 1.32% of the world population (2010 National Statistics Bureau of Philippines). There are a total of 2,080 universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) as of August 2010, out of which 1,573 are private and 607 public (Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines 2012).
13. Vietnam: Thirteenth most populous country on earth with 87,840,000 people or 1.25% (2011 Official Estimate-GSO of Vietnam). Vietnam, a closed society, has 146 universities.
14. Ethiopia: Fourteenth most populous country and one of the poorest countries on earth with a population of 84,321,000 people or 1.20% of the world population (Official Estimate of the Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia 2012). There are 141 universities in Ethiopia.
15. Egypt: Fifteenth most populous country on earth with 82,019,000 people 1.17% of the world population (2012 Population Clock CAPMAS). There are only 52 universities, 23 are public and 29 private.
16. Germany: Sixteenth most populous country on earth with 81,858,000 people or 1.09% of the world population (Official Estimate of the German’s Federal Statistics Office 2012). There are 167 universities in Germany.
17. Iran: Seventeenth most populous country on earth with 76,348,000 people or 1.079% (2011 Official Estimate of Statistical Center of Iran). There are 360 universities in Iran.
>18. Turkey: Eighteenth most populous country on earth with 74,720,000 people or 1.07% of the world population (2011 Official Estimate of the Turkish Statistical Institute). There are 164 universities in Turkey.
19. Congo, DRC: Nineteenth most populous country on earth with 65,966,000 people or 0.97% of the world population (2012 UN Estimate). Congo, DRC, though, war-torn, has 52 universities.
20. Thailand: Twentieth most populous country on earth with 65,500,000 people or 0.93% of the world population (2010 Census- National Statistics Office of Thailand). There are 167 universities in Thailand.
Other countries surveyed or investigated because of their importance to this research are
United Kingdom: World 22nd populated country with a population of 62, 262,000 people or 0.89% of the world population (2010). It has 109 full universities and 133 Universities of (Higher) Education (via Privy Council Permission).
South Africa: World’s 24th most populous country with 50,586,000 people or 0.72% of the world population (South African Official Statistics 2011). It has 64 universities (WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia 2012).
South Korea: World 25th most populous country with 48,580,000 people or 0.69% of the world population (2010 Census Statistics of South Korea). There are 432 universities in South Korea.
Canada: 35th world most populous country with 34,790,000 people or 0.5% of the world population (2012 Official Population Clock- Statistics Canada). There are 108 universities with 1.2million university students in Canada presently.
Ghana: 48th most populous country in the world with 24,223,000 people or 0.35% of world population (2010 Census of Ghana). There are 69 universities in Ghana.
Taiwan: World 51st most populous country on earth with 23,239,000 people or 0.33% of the world population (National Statistics of Taiwan 2012). There are 173 universities in Taiwan including 9 military, police and security intelligence universities.
Singapore: 116th world most populous country with 5,184,000 or 0.074% of the world population (2011 Official Estimate of National Statistics of Singapore). There are 62 universities in Singapore.
There are also 98 universities in Argentina with a population of 40,117,000 or 0.57% of the world population (2010 Census of Argentina).
Out of these countries investigated, only the United States, Brazil and Philippines have their other higher education institutions included. In other countries investigated, those strictly in university categories, though, called various names were measured. The 2012 Version of WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia supplied most of the information used in the survey. Therefore Sir, the total result of our survey under discussion clearly shows that the 124 universities in Nigeria is grossly inadequate for a country of roughly 160million people, whose over 70% of the tertiary education applicants desire to study in the university education. Also, over 80% of those who desire to acquire tertiary education especially the university education are shut out every year due to the so-called “university system student quota” and “university carrying capacity”. The foregoing result has undisputedly shown that Nigerian tertiary education system is in tatters due to crawling and archaic policies and destructive socio-political interests of the top social management stakeholders. The result further shows how serious many populous and non-populous countries including the closed societies are in the subject matter called “tertiary” or “higher” or “university” education.
As closed as Vietnam is, for instance, it has 146 universities; as poor as Ethiopia is, it has 141 universities; as poor and war-torn as Congo, DRC is, it has 52 universities. Even Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries on earth has 91 universities. Some of the Nigeria’s economic peers and juniors in the 1960s are Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia and South Korea. For instance, in the 1960s, Nigeria’s GDP was $5.6 billion, while those of South Korea and Indonesia were $3.6billion and $2.1billion respectively (NOUN 2010). Today, Brazil has 2,368 universities and university colleges; Philippines have 2,080 universities and other university related institutions; Indonesia has 180 universities; and South Korea is with 432 universities. Also as small as Taiwan is (23.2million), it has 173 universities including 9 military, police and security intelligence universities. As small as Ghana is (24.2million), it has 69 universities; and as very small as Singapore is (5.18million), it has 62 universities.
Further, apart from the fact that the countries above-mentioned have large number of universities for their citizens and non-citizens (in open societies), their universities’ physical facilities, reading and expertise resources are upgraded and evaluated periodically including contract and charitable personnel expertise sourcing and electronic education resources. They make maximum use of their distance learning or education resources to ensure that citizens irrespective of class access their university education opportunities. University Student Loan Scheme exists in the USA with an outstanding unpaid loan of over $1trillion. This tells your Commission how serious the Americans take tertiary education. In UK, the Open University of UK, a distance-learning provider, has the highest student population of 193,835 (WIKIPEDIA 2012). It came under 302-403 category in the 2012 world’s top 500 universities’ ranking conducted by the Institute of Higher Education of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China. The University of London with its colleges has a total student population of 128,480. The University of Wales (UK) has a total student population of 93,150 at its nine accredited institutions excluding another 30,010 at its affiliated Cardiff University. The Leeds Metropolitan University of UK has a student population of 41,215 (WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia 2012).
The total number of student population of Nigeria’s 124 universities is shrouded in secrecy, possibly, for fraudulent reasons. Some, if not many universities in Nigeria maintain fraudulent and variant student population records, sometimes, if not most times, to the alleged official and unofficial knowledge of your Commission. This explains why such vital information is missing on your Commission’s official website. There exists a university in Nigeria that maintains three student admission lists of 3,700, 4,703 and 6,000 allegedly to official and unofficial knowledge of your Commission. The 6000 version was allegedly used in the 2010/2011-admission year. If this is true, then other universities may most likely be involved and this expressly means that university student admission quota is not only insufficient but also for sale to the highest bidders. According to our findings, Nigerian universities are mandated to send statistics on their student population to your Commission (NUC) annually for the University System Annual Review Meeting (USARM), yet the information remains inaccessible, possibly, due to fraudulent and other unhealthy reasons.
Monumental Poor Performances Of The Nigerian Universities In The Regional & International Ratings:
In the 2011 rating of Africa’s top 100 universities surveyed by 4 International Colleges & Universities.org (4icu.org)-a popular world university web ranking, the position of 10 top universities in Africa went to South African and Egyptian universities. Sadly, universities from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Morocco, Ghana and Sudan lead favourably against Nigerian universities. In the said regional rating, no Nigerian university made the best top 10, 20 and 30 list. The best rated Nigerian university, University of Ibadan came 32nd, followed by University of Ilorin, which came 34th, followed by University of Benin, which came 40th; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife came 44th, Ahmadu Bello University came 62nd and University of Jos came 70th.
Similarly, in the 2012 edition of the Report (4icu.org), released earlier in July 2012, no Nigerian university made the best 10 and 15 list. One out of the country’s 124 universities managed to be in the list of best 20(University of Lagos 16th position). As expected, the Africa’s 20 best universities for 2012 are 1. University of Cape Town (South Africa), 2. Universiteit Stellenbosch (Stella Bosch University), 3. University of Pretoria, 4. University of the Witwatersland, 5. University of KwaZulu-Natal, and 6. University of South Africa. These first six are all South African universities. Others are: Cairo University (Egypt), which came 7th, the American University of Cairo (Egypt 8th), Rhodes University (South Africa 9th), University of Western Cape (South Africa 10th), University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania 11th), University of Johannesburg (South Africa 12th), University of Botswana (13th), University of Nairobi (Kenya 14th), University of Ghana (15th), University of Lagos (Nigeria 16th), Monsoura University (Egypt 17th), Ain Shams University (Egypt 18th), Makerere University (Uganda 19th), and North-West University( South Africa 20th). Other Nigerian universities that scored “weak pass” are University of Ilorin (39th), University of Ibadan (40th), Obafemi Awolowo University (42nd), University of Benin (45th), and University of Port Harcourt (52nd). Three other Nigerian universities that are in the failure list are Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (64th), Ahmadu Bello University (84th) and University of Jos (88th).
Further, in the 2012 world 100 top universities ranking by the Times Higher Education Rating, no African universities, not to talk of Nigerian universities made the list. The best 10 world universities are: Harvard University (USA), which came first both in the 2011 and 2012 ratings; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA 2nd), University of Cambridge (UK 3rd), Stanford University (USA 4th), University of California, Berkeley (USA 5th), University of Oxford (UK 6th), Princeton University (USA 7th), University of Tokyo (Japan 8th), University of California, Los Angeles (USA 9th), and Yale University (USA 10th). Others in the list are universities from USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, China, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Israel, Brazil, Taiwan, France, Sweden, Belgium and Holland. United States universities dominated the list.
In the world top 400 universities’ ranking for 2011-2012 by the Times Higher Education Ranking, only three universities from Africa (South Africa) made the list. They are University of Cape Town (103rd), University of Witwatersland (251-275) and Stella Bosch University (251-275). No other African or Nigerian university made the list.
In the 2011 world 500 top universities’ ranking by the Times Higher Education Ranking or Academic Ranking of World Universities, only three universities from Africa (South Africa) made the list. They are University of Cape Town (201-300), University of Witwatersland (301-400) and University of KwaZulu-Natal (401-500). No other African or Nigerian university featured in the list. The 2012 edition of the Times Higher Education Ranking will be released on 15th day of August 2012. In the 2012 world top 500 universities rating by the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China, only four African universities from South Africa made the list. They are University of Cape Town (202-301), University of Witwatersland (302-403), University of KwaZulu-Natal (404-502) and University of Pretoria (44-502). No other African or Nigerian university made the list.
National Universities Commission As Nigeria’s Higher Education Marketing Board:
With due respect to your Commission, its name ought to be the foregoing because its regulation of the country’s university system over the years has been a monumental failure, except for collection of university registration fees and putting them into existence. The NUC is neither statistically advanced nor a modern knowledge-based body. It has also been accused severally of aiding and abetting monumental corruption in the country’s university system. The recent outcry by the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offenses Commission to that effect is a case in point. The NUC hardly maintains sound database and publishes credible annual reports concerning its successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, actions and inactions, policies; and challenges facing it and the 124 universities under its midwifery.
There is a manifest incapability of your Commission to suggest innovative ways of advancing university education in Nigeria including addressing the inaccessibility of university education to its teeming applicants in the country. Your Commission also appears to be dominated by “the intellectuals of Soviet School” (old brigade), who are barely computer/ICT literate. Electronic education (e-Education), an offshoot of ICT revolution and other out-door educational services utterly sound strange to top management of your Commission, as evidenced by the forgoing survey findings as well as the turn of events in the Nigerian university system controlled by your Commission. Therefore, your Commission’s polices, actions and attitudes are akin to reasons that made former President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania to ask his fellow Africans an immortal question in the 1990s. The question is thus: “why is it that when Europeans and North Americans are busy finding their way into the moon, Africans are busy finding their way back to the cave/forest?”
Our further investigation of the US Higher Education System showed that as of 2010, 20.3 million students were in US universities, which are roughly 5.7% of its population, out of which 14.6million enrolled full time, while 5.6 million were part-time and distance education students. 63% of the students were whites, 12% Hispanics or Mexican Americans and 14% African Americans. In the 2006 American Community Survey, 19.5% of its higher education old students attended colleges (higher-education) without degrees, 7.4% held associate degrees, 17.1% held bachelor’s degrees, 9.9% have graduate or professional degrees, 27.9% men held bachelor’s degrees and 26.2% women have bachelor’s degrees. In the area of States with highest bachelor’s degree holders, District of Columbia has the highest percentage (45%) of people-25years and above, that have bachelor’s degrees in USA, followed by States of Massachusetts (37%), Maryland (35.1%), Colorado (34.3%) and Connecticut (33.7%). On the other hand, States in the lowest category are West Virginia (16.5%), Arkansas (18.2%), Mississippi (18.8%), Kentucky (20%), and Louisiana (20.3%). Obviously, these types of statistics are strange to Nigeria’s tertiary education system and its top policy makers including the NUC.
Parasitism & Deficit System:
The 124 accredited universities and 173 other higher education institutions in Nigeria are heavily parasitic and deficit oriented. Apart from the fact that none of the 297 tertiary institutions in the country can be classified as “regionally and internationally standard research university or higher education institution”, these higher institutions heavily rely on tuition fees, government subventions and loans for survival. Conversely, many of the US 5,758 universities and university colleges are research-based, out of which 120 universities are full-blown research universities. Most solutions to American social problems including crime and delinquency are invented or developed in its universities’ laboratories and libraries. For instance, while the Italian University System School of Criminology led by Professor Casare Lambroso is credited with “criminals are born” theoretical solution, the American Chicago School of Criminology led by Professor Edwin Sutherland is associated with “criminals are made” theoretical solution. Today, while the world recognizes Professor Lambroso as “ the father of modern Criminology”, it also recognizes Professor Sutherland as “ the father of American Criminology”. Professor Auguste Comte is universally recognized as “ the father of modern Sociology”.
Similarly, a Harvard University Professor was responsible for the development of the “multi-court door”, a sort of alternative litigation mechanism, which Nigeria embraced in 2004. This is just very few out of numerous instances. Also, solutions to debt epidemic hitting the Europe’s three most indebted nations-Italy, Greece and Spain are being researched on, in their universities’ labs, libraries and faculties. But in Nigeria, reverse is totally the case. None of the Nigeria’s three hydra-headed monsters- corruption, bad governance and insecurity has been taken up for research and solution by any of the 297 higher education institutions in Nigeria.
Successful breakthroughs in researches mean generational goldmines. The late Gani Fawehinmi’s books on law will remain a major source of his family’s income in years to come. Professor Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” invented in the 1960s has continued to popularize him and put food on his table after over 40years. For instance, according to the 2007 Report by the National Association of Colleges & Universities Business Officers of USA, 765 US Colleges & Universities have combined $340billion in endowment assets as of 2006, out of which the Harvard University alone worth $29billion, according to the report. These are achieved through breakthroughs recorded in scientific researches and social researches conducted by brilliant thinkers and social scientists domiciled in the Ivory Towers.
Solutions & Recommendations:
More Universities & Liberalization Of University/Tertiary Education System In Nigeria:
The 124 universities and 173 colleges of education, polytechnics and monotechnics in Nigeria as presently constituted are grossly inadequate for roughly 160million Nigerian citizens especially when over 70% of higher education applicant-citizens desire for university education. There is an urgent need for the establishment of more universities, vocational institutions, and liberalization of distance learning, part-time and sandwich programmes’ policies in the Nigerian universities. The right to education including right to university and vocational education is non-negotiable and should be designed in such a way that a vocational education graduate wishing to access university education and a university graduate wishing to access vocational education should not be hindered. Also petty traders, mechanics, okada riders, vulcanizers and public/private clerical office attendants including members of the rank and file of the public and private security agencies who wish to acquire university or tertiary education must be provided with maximum opportunities. This is the spirit and letters of Sections 1, 7, 8 and 9 of the Nigeria’s National Policy on Education 1998.
Bearing in mind your Commission’s basic requirements for the establishment of a university, a college of education and a polytechnic/monotechnic, which include availability of N200million and 100 hectares of land for university; N50million and 25 hectares of land for college of education and N100million and 50 hectares of land for polytechnic; universities to be established should include specialized and research-based universities. For instance, according to media reports, Nigeria has recorded about 110 fatal domestic air-crashes in the past 50 years. Therefore, there is need for a specialized university for aeronautics engineering and related specialties to be established in Nigeria. There are also very few forensic experts and pathologists in Nigeria (need for security intelligence university), among other new fields of scientific, technological and social science studies including field of criminology & security studies, which are near-absent in the country. Specialized or research-based universities usually have less student population, but are highly standardized.
For instance, the UK University of Music has 680 students and the UK Institute of Cancer Research has 290 students. On the other hand, a university can have as much as 190,000 students depending its physical facilities, sub-schools and expert resources as well as its out-door academic programmes like distance education resources, sandwich and part-time programmes. The UK Open University, for instance, has a total student population of 193,835, because of its maximum use of distance education and its related resources. The University of London with its colleges (sub-schools) has a total student population of 128,480. But in Nigeria, there is no existing sound data containing the total number of student population in its 124 universities and 173 other higher education institutions. Your Commission’s Academic Standards Bureau told our researchers on Monday, 23rd day of July 2012 that the compilations of this important list “is ongoing”, including list containing basic criteria for accreditation of courses in the Nigerian universities. It is shocking and alarming that the NUC does not know the accurate number of students studying in the Nigerian universities as of date.
Further, apart from healthy and unhealthy restrictions imposed by your Commission on the access to university education in Nigeria, which make the university education inaccessible to many citizens desiring it, most of the 50 private universities in Nigeria are very difficult to access by many students due to exorbitant fees charged by their proprietors and managements. As a result, there is need to establish more public–funded and multi-national oriented universities to remedy the situation. Core oil States of Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Bayelsa as well as the internal revenue prosperous States of Lagos, Ogun, Anambra and the FCT, still owe Nigerians more universities. More universities including University of Security Intelligence should come from Federal Government and its rich parastatals like NNPC (recent creation of the new Federal University of Petroleum Resources via NNPC is not enough). The National Assembly of Nigerian owes Nigerians a university or its equivalent, in the spirit of the Self Accounting System First Line Charge Act and its social obligations to Nigerians. The university or institute, when established, will also train its members on modern governance, security, international diplomacy, anti-corruption and parliamentary concept.
Also, as part of their social responsibility obligations to Nigerians, the MTN Nigeria, Globacom Nigeria, Shell Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Totalfina, Agip, First Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA, Nigerian Brewery, Guinness Nigeria, Pfizer Nigeria etc should build universities for Nigerians. Their royalties and taxes including the so-called “education taxes” are grossly inadequate as their contributions towards Nigeria’s nation building, to compare to what Nigerians give them in return. To this end, the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between them and the Federal Government of Nigeria should be revisited in earnest. Such universities when built should be declassified as “private universities” and be made accessible and affordable to many Nigerians irrespective of their economic class, tribe, religion, physical status or gender.
Upgrading & Liberalization of Laws, Regulations & Policies Governing Higher/Tertiary Education In Nigeria:
As it stands, the regulation of tertiary education in the Nigerian Federation is utterly unitary. This is despite the fact that education matters are both in exclusive and concurrent legislative lists of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, which means, expressly, that they fall under both States and Federal legislative jurisdictions. Having one regulatory body for the 50 private universities, 37 State universities and 37 Federal universities, not only defeat the principles of Federalism but also look archaic, militarist and undemocratic. It is also very wrong to have one body regulating the 36 Federal polytechnics, 48 State polytechnics and 13 private polytechnics as well as 22 Federal monotechnics, two State and two private monotechnics, likewise one body regulating 17 Federal colleges of education, 30 State colleges of education and three private colleges of education.
In the United States of America, for instance, from where Nigeria borrowed its federalist statism in 1967, from its federalist regionalism in 1954, there are various regulatory agencies for higher education institutions. Apart from the State Department of Education and other related federal regulatory bodies, there are also Alabama Commission on Higher Commission for State of Alabama, California Post-Secondary Education Commission, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Georgia Department of Technical & Adult Education, to mention but very few. It is our recommendation that relevant laws should be amended and upgraded to allow the National Universities Commission, in the form of “Federal Universities Commission”, to regulate all federal universities in Nigeria; National Board for Technical Education, in the form of “Federal Board or Commission for Polytechnics & Monotechnics” to regulate all federal polytechnics & monotechnics in Nigeria; and the National Commission for Colleges of Education, in the form of “Federal Commission for Colleges of Education” to regulate all federal colleges of education in Nigeria.
On the other hand, for sanity, non-proliferation and non-abuse, there shall be Acts of the National Assembly sponsored geopolitically to provide for “ Southeast Higher Education or University Commission”, “South-south Higher Education or University Commission”, “South-West Higher Education or University Commission”, “North-West Higher Education or University Commission”, “North-East Higher Education or University Commission” and “North-Central Higher Education or University Commission”. The Acts setting up these commissions shall be sponsored by the governors of each geopolitical zone in conjunction with their top lawmakers and major stakeholders in tertiary education from their zones, to provide for the establishment of more universities, vocational & technical institutions as well as regulating the general conducts of new and existing State universities and related institutions.
If one regulating body is considered too small to oversee all higher education institutions in each geopolitical zone, three commissions for State universities, polytechnics & monotechnics and colleges of education may be created. Also, there shall be national commissions for private universities, polytechnics & monotechnics, and colleges of education, where major stakeholders in the higher education private enterprise as well as government reps will play major roles in the regulatory bodies. To declassify corporate/multinational universities/tertiary institutions expected to be established, from the category of “private universities”, for maximum accessibility, affordability and quality university education delivery, there may be need to create a separate national commission to regulate their conducts and protect their requisite interests. Time is also ripe for Chapter Two of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended to be justiciable. To this end, its Section 6, sub 6, paragraph c should be deleted.
Importantly, we call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to conduct, as a matter of uttermost urgency, advanced computer/ICT literacy tests on all members of the board of the National Universities Commission especially its Executive Secretary, Professor Julius Okojie and the Minister of Education, Professor Ruquayattu Rufa’i Bala Mohammed. If Nigeria’s higher education top policy makers are found to be barely computer/ICT literate then the innovative higher educational resources of this jet-age, including electronic education and distance learning programmes will continue to elude Nigerians due to the peopling of the Nigeria’s top public education management with analogue intellectuals.
Finally, the recent lamentations by the Vice Chancellor of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Federal University, Anambra State, Nigeria, Professor Boniface Egboka and the JAMB Registrar and CEO, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, are both shocking and alarming. The VC had disclosed that “3,700” annual student admission quota from NUC to UNIZIK is grossly inadequate. Though, he requested for an increase, from “3,700” students to 9,000 students, he shockingly revealed that out of 2,000 students that scored 291 merit grade to study medicine and surgery in the University, only 100 would be offered admission due to your Commission’s limited student quota to the institution and that out of 3,000 students who scored 281 to study law, only 180 would be admitted. UNIZIK came second in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Board examinations as the second most preferred university of choice, with 82,148 students applying to study in the institution in the 2011-2012 academic year.
The University of Lagos came first with 83,865 prospective university students applying to study in the institution, out of which, only 9,507 students would be admitted according to your Commission’s student quota allocation to the institution. A total of 1,503,931 students sat for the 2012 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Board examinations to study in the country’s 297 tertiary institutions with over 70% of them preferring university education. Out of this very encouraging figure, less than 20% would gain admission into the 124 universities in Nigeria this academic year.
To this end, we call on your Commission to, as a matter of uttermost immediacy, lift the so-called “suspension of all part-time programmes in the Nigerian universities” and identify for necessary punitive measures, defaulting universities especially those running academic programmes from “kiosks and shanties”. Your Commission’s second ground or excuse to the effect that universities were admitting over 20% of their student population into part-time programmes is totally unfounded, unscientific and illogical. Since no credible data, open for public scrutiny exists at your Commission, its decision based on this is totally fallacious and crudely. The suspension by your Commission of seven operational licenses of the seven private universities should objectively be revisited as a matter of urgency.
Also, the recent directive by your Commission to the Senate of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, to revert to the use of “paper-and-pen” (POP) in all its exams, from its highly advanced electronic exams and automated marking schemes, is totally condemned. This is akin to ordering for the destruction of computer operating systems with their storage devices in public and private offices and conversion of the businesses of such offices to pen, paper and paper-files. It also exposes your Commission’s gross ignorance of the jet-age electronic education and other distance learning resources. It is an attempt to return NOUN to the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s post-office oriented “correspondence programmes”, through which the likes of Pa Awolowo accessed their law and other academic degrees.
NOUN operates with modern distance learning standards also embraced by its international colleagues such as UK Open University, Hong Kong Open University, Open University of China, Indian Open University, etc. This is why the UK Open University has one of the largest university student populations in the world (193,835). Among the 124 universities in Nigeria, NOUN is the most unique and has the lowest corruption index due to its unique methods. The “art of writing” logic is totally watery and unscientific. The compendium of the Nigerian universities’ student population and the so-called “Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) and other quality assurance guidelines” used by your Commission for the accreditation of courses in the Nigerian universities should be compiled immediately and put on the NUC website for public scrutiny and accessibility.
It is high time Nigeria wriggled out of the global Failed States Index surveys. Just like in the 2010 and 2011 evaluations, Nigeria came 14th in the 2012 global Failed States Index survey released earlier in July 2012 by the US-based Fund for Peace, which evaluated 177 countries. Nigeria only surpassed Congo, DRC, Somalia and few others, either ravaged by war or political instability or acute poverty. Nigeria was classified under “red”, a step to “alert”, which is the most dangerous zone. Out of 120 negative marks evaluated, Nigeria scored 101.6. Some of the marks scored by Nigeria are as follows: mass movement of refugees and internally displaced people, 6.5; vengeance-seeking group grievance, 9.7; chronic and sustained human flight, 7.6; uneven economic development, 8.9; poverty, sharp or severe economic decline, 7.5; progressive deterioration of public services, 9.1; violation of human rights and rule of law, 8.6; and rise of factionalised elite, 9.8 (courtesy of the Punch Editorial of July 25, 2012). Nigeria has over 33 vast solid mineral resources, but is eaten up by greed/corruption, bad governance and insecurity. It mockingly parades the highest number of brainwashed intellectuals (Mogadishu Professors) and professional grammar speakers on earth especially in its institutions of higher learning.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
Chairman, Board of Trustees
+234(0) 8033601078, +234(0) 8180103912
Comrade Justus Ijeoma Head, Publicity Desk
Udegboka, Nkechi Tessie (Intersociety)
1. Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
2. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister of Economy
3. Professor Ruquayattu Rufa’I Bala Mohammed
Minister of Education, Federal Republic of Nigeria
4. Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN
Attorney General & Minister for Justice
5. Senator Pius Anyim
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Republic of Nigeria
6. Senator David Mark
Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
7. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
Speaker, House of Reps, Federal Republic of Nigeria
8. Senator Ike Ekweremadu
Chairman, Constitution Review Committee, National Assembly of Nigeria
9. Chairman, Senate Committee on Education
10. Professor M.I. Junaid
Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education
11. Dr. Masa’Udu Adamu Kazaure
Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education
12. Dr. Nasir Faggae Isa
President, Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU)
13. Professor Dibu Ojerinde
Chief Registrar/CEO, Joint Admission & Matriculation Board
14. Mr. Chibuike Amechi
Governor, Rivers State & Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum
15. Mr. Peter Obi
Governor, Anambra State & Chairman, Southeast Governors Forum
16. The Head, EU Mission in Nigeria
17. The US Ambassador to Nigeria
18. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria
19. The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria
20. Ms. Irina Bokova
Director General, UNESCO, Paris, France
21. Secretary General, Amnesty International, UK
22. Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, USA
23. Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Education
(All Right Reserved: Intersociety Nigeria: July 2012)
Photo Above: Professor Julius Okojie
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