The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed said only one per cent of Nigerian population form the total enrollment of students into the 164 universities across the country.
Rasheed made this known at the presentation of Provisional License to a new private university, Skyline University, Kano, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The executive secretary stated that the 75 private universities, in the country, accounted for 5.31 per cent of the total enrollment in the universities across the country.
He described the situation as unhealthy and stressed the need for more access either by creating more universities or expanding existing ones.
“All the 75 private universities in the country account for only 5. 31 per cent of the total enrollment in our universities and many of them are small.
“If you look at the population of 198 million which is nearly 200 million and if you bear in mind that the total enrollment in our universities today, all the 164 universities is less than 2 million.
“That is just 1.96 million students in the universities that translates roughly to one per cent of the population; one per cent of the population are in the university, I think that is not healthy,” the NUC boss said.
This, according to him, is an indication that we need more access; that is why we need either more universities or we need to expand existing universities.
“We need to create more space for more Nigerians to get the quality university education.”
On the high fee being charged by private universities, Rasheed said the commission could not regulate the fees of private schools.
But he called on government at all levels and philanthropists to institute scholarship for indigent students, who are intelligent to enable them access quality education.
According to him, the establishment of the university is significant because it is the first private university in the Kano and the second private university in the North.
The university is already in operation in the United Arab Emirate.
He said that NUC would continue to support investors in university education as long as they delivered quality education, which will, in turn, develop the country.
“The future of this country rests in the strength of the university education, so we will continue to support investors in our university education,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr Kamal Puri, the proprietor of the Skyline University, commended the NUC for the quality guidelines set in establishing universities in the country.
Puri said the growth and development of any nation were attributable to the quality of education of the people, adding that there was the need to prepare the young generation for the rapid change in technology because they are the future leaders.
“Nigeria should expect technology in education because the world is changing; cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and robotics are spreading in every field.
“Teaching has changed; it is life-long learning and we are the leaders in technology.
“Teaching is not just providing knowledge and skills, but also helping the students to face the global challenges and that will be our advantage,” he said.
Puri gave assurance that the university would deliver in standard and quality because they were determined to produce quality graduates.
“We are not here to engage in a business making venture, education will not give you that returns. But seeing quality graduates performing optimally at the end of their study will give me happiness.
“The returns are the respect and happiness in your heart when you see your former students doing very well.”