ASUU expresses worry over the proliferation of varsities

Concerns about the proliferation of tertiary institutions in the nation and the inadequate support of those that already exist have been voiced by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The union claimed that when they were unable to provide funding for already-existing institutions, the federal and state governments created new ones.

Therefore, it suggested that instead of transferring their obligations to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), the owners of these universities should be permitted to finance them independently for the first five years before approaching the organisation for assistance.

ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, who made the submission at TETFund’s strategic planning meeting in Abuja, kicked against the growing trend of governors establishing new institutions in the twilight of their stay in office.

Osodeke said: “We have proposed to the National Assembly, and I think TETFund can bring that as part of its policies that for any university or polytechnic to benefit from the agency, the owner must have funded it for at least five years.

“That way, a governor who is starting a new university will not have access to TETFund projects till he leaves office. That will reduce this proliferation of universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.”

The ASUU chief said rather than focus on building structures, attention should equally be given to equipping them.Osodeke also accused some tertiary institutions of negligence in implementing the agency’s projects in their domains.

He mentioned in particular the situation at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Akwa, Anambra State, where three dialysis equipment were abandoned and allowed to rot instead of being used.

He went on to say that he learned about this when he joined the TETFund monitoring team to look at its projects around the nation.

Based on a review of the National Universities Commission (NUC) website, there are 262 universities in Nigeria. Of them, 52 are federal, 63 are state-owned, and 147 are private.

Similarly, 40 federal polytechnics, 49 state-owned, and 76 private are listed by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).There are 17 privately owned health colleges and 70 are federal and state-owned.