The Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU has said the approval of more private universities in Nigeria would spell doom for public universities in the nation.
Biodun Ogunyemi, president of the union, who spoke with The ICIR, said establishment of more private universities would continue to widen the divide between the rich and the poor in the country.
He said children of the rich would always get admission into higher institutions, while those of the poor would remain at home.
According to him, many of the private universities did not have manpower and facilities to run the programmes for which they were accreditation by the NUC, which was why they always engaged human and non-human resources in public universities, thus ‘overstretching’ the public schools.
“How many of these private universities are worth being called universities? Many of them just exist physically. Content wise, they do not have what it takes to be universities. You find that they do not have their own complement of academic staff as most of the time, they liaise with the existing public universities. You find out that over 70 percent of their lecturers are drawn from the existing universities as adjunct, part time, visitors.
“To that extent, they are overstretching facilities and academic human resources in the existing universities. So, if you like, you can call them parasites. You know, those private universities are usually established by people with great influence and they present beautiful papers and beautiful proposals, but when it comes to the actualisation of their proposals, they fall flat.
“Has anybody stopped to ask the question about patronage for these universities? As we speak now, the existing private universities do not have more than five percent of undergraduates and students. So, the remaining over 90 percent of the students attend public universities. Why do students not go to private universities? We have them all over the place,” Ogunyemi stated.
He added that in countries where private universities thrived, there were opportunities for students to access scholarships, to get support from government and from philanthropists.
“But, in Nigeria, even some of the private universities established by missionaries, those who contribute to the establishment of the universities, cannot take their children there because of the exorbitant tuitions they are charging. Private universities are mostly for the children of the rich and as long as we continue to proliferate them, we are widening the education gap between the children of the rich and the poor,” he concluded.