Nigerian Universities and Standards

Irrespective of your definition of success, education and learning is the key to it.

The nature of your education also matters because it goes a long way in determining how you develop your intellect and capacity for problem solving. As research has shown, the human brain operates by going through memory paths that it has traversed whenever it encounters a problem. This is the very reason why it takes a determined cautious effort to change behaviors. So, exposure and environment matters in the intellect and capacity development – the so-called nature/nurture and Environmental effects.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article that there are currently 153 universities in Nigeria and 200 open applications to Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC), for operating licenses to open additional 200 Universities. According to the article, of these existing 153 universities, 40 are Federally owned, 45 are State owned and 68 are Privately owned. Details of some of these so-called Universities, State and privately owned would be subject of my writing in the future.

With a projected population of almost 200 million, this potential number of “Universities” should be applauded but there is a problem.

Are all these really universities in the real sense of the term? Do all these Universities have the required Faculties to develop young minds in ways they can independently and systematically reason and make informed inferences and deductions or are the students just regurgitating old notes that have been overtaken by new discoveries? Are we deliberating downgrading degrees from Nigeria when compared to the rest of the world? Are they awarding “Associate degrees”? Are we going to be looking for a conversion factor when you present a degree awarded in Nigeria to the rest of the world? What are the differentiations of these Universities? Do they have tenured faculties without political or tribal interferences? What researches are going on and how are they funded? What standards are being met?

I do not have the answers to some of these questions but worried that gradually, the route to light may soon go dark and then it will be too late.

As usual, we may have the structure (in NUC) in place that should be acting as the gatekeeper to ensure required standards are transparently being met before licenses are issued. But with everything Nigerian, your guess is as good as mine.

We should begin to call on NUC, Minister/Ministry of Education and the oversight structures of government, including House of Rep and Senate, and demand action on our University standards and systems. We need to have:

  1. An established transparent requirement to be met before granting licenses for new Universities.
  2. A non-political/tribal team to review existing Universities to ensure standards is maintained.
  3. Establish guaranteed funding mechanism requirement for any one of them to remain as Universities

We would like to see more Universities as long as they meet the established standard. We should not be calling community colleges and/or gloried high schools Universities. When (not if because on are already on that route) we destroy the reputation/value of degrees awarded from Nigerian Universities, we will suffer the consequences and it will take a hell lot more resources and time to change it.

The time to act is now.