Improving Nigeria’s Higher Education System: The Dilemma of Creating New Institutions or Renaming Existing ones | By Momoh Emmanuel Omeiza

Education has constantly been affirmed as a real tool to meet common challenges and also to promote national development. The reservation of the above assertion seems to work in Nigeria because education is seen as an exclusive reserve of the elite. This is due to the many challenges faced by many citizens in their quest for education.

From the primary level to the higher level, which is the tertiary level, the situation remains the same. However, it is as if the tertiary sector takes the highest percentage of the many challenges. For many, getting admission to study the desired course will be called a Herculean task, which for several years will not yield any tangible results.

Just a few days ago, last week, five additional universities were approved to complement the existing ones. Mr. Sonny Echono, who serves as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, noted that the institutions were the Federal University of Technology, Jigawa and Akwa Ibom State, as well as the establishment of the Abuja National Institute of Technology as well as two universities specializing in health, nutrition and medical sciences will be located in Azare, Bauchi State and Ila-Orangun in Osun State.

He further noted that the institutions were created to facilitate the admission process of the masses who cannot afford to acquire foreign degrees and also to improve the Nigerian higher education system so that they can stand by. side by side with its counterparts from developed countries.

One then begins to wonder if the number of educational establishments a country has was the only criterion to determine the quality of its education system. The quality of the different higher education systems.

At the end of the first quarter of the current year, the total number of higher education institutions stood at 697. Of these, the National Universities Commission, which was the regulatory body for academic activities in Nigeria, noted that there were 44 federal universities, 52 state universities and 99 private universities.

The National Council for Technical Education which manages the affairs of polytechnics and other related technical institutions noted that there were 37 federal polytechnics, 48 ​​state polytechnics, 64 private polytechnics, 36 training institutions specialized bodies belonging to the federal administration, the state and individuals, 33 colleges of agriculture, 43 colleges of health sciences and technologies, 10 private colleges of health sciences and technologies, 158 establishments of innovative companies, 123 technical colleges and 78 professional business establishments.

The National Commission of Educational Colleges which supervises the educational colleges and the teacher training establishments set the statistics of the establishments within their coordination center at 160, this at the same time for the federal, the State and private and managed establishments.

Based on the statistics above, a rather enthusiastic person who is not familiar with the education system in the country will say that this means that the government is prioritizing education over other things. But in the truest sense of the word, this has only resulted in a plethora of challenges. The main one being the challenge of being admitted.

To support my point and my anxiety, let’s take the following scenarios in perspective.

Here is Chinedu who got 360 at JAMB and has the four compulsory credits including English and Math, he wants to study electrical engineering but four years later he didn’t get admission. At this point he is offered mathematics as an alternative but he cannot study it because it is against his will. He was not born with a silver spoon and cannot afford the luxury of a private education like his other friends.

What about Hakeem who has 250 in JAMB and also has a great result in WAEC and wants to study mass communication at a polytechnic part-time, but he is not able to be admitted. After several years of waiting, he finally chose to study science education at a higher education institution, against his will.

Without denying, the above scenarios are what every Nigerian has encountered at one time or another. With all this staring us in the face, what is the essence of creating additional institutions, on the false premise of improving the nation’s education system and making the admission of the population without a hitch when the reality of events and situations, proves it to be wrong?

It is as if every administration engages in the business of the jamboree of establishing institutions from time to time, so it will be remembered for having left an unforgettable legacy. However, sooner or later established institutions begin to encounter the same challenges that existing institutions face. This ultimately becomes the parable of the passage from the frying pan to the fire.

Can we really exhaust the challenges of poor educational facilities and dilapidated infrastructure that cause many to overlook Nigeria’s higher education system? What more can we say about the industrial action which paralyzes academic activities for a long time?

The government’s effort to establish more anti-development institutions than the existing ones has been marked by many as a misplaced priority. This observation cannot be denied or refuted when the above questions are examined succinctly.

This prevents the Nigerian government from using the funds used to establish new universities in Nigeria to develop and renovate existing ones. Should we say jointly to the government that in critical areas of the economy such as education, the issue of quality and not quantity must come into play?

Well, the earlier we focus on building more structures to develop the existing ones, the better for the health of our education system. Indeed, education will always remain the best tool to fight against oppression and develop a nation.

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Janice G. Ball