The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, has disclosed that more than 2.1 million population of students are currently studying in Nigerian Universities.
The figure is a little higher than what it was in 2017, where the number was put at 1.7 million undergraduate students and 234 thousand postgraduate students.
This is just as the Commission, on Friday, in Abuja issued a letter of recognition for the establishment of three new Universities to the Delta State Government.
NUC Executive Secretary presented the letters of recognition to the State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, where he stressed the need for more universities in Nigeria to address the challenge of access to tertiary education, saying that Nigeria has over 2.1 million students in universities with so many of young Nigerians not getting admission.
The three universities which are an upgrade of already existing institutions are the Delta State University of Education, Agbor (formerly College of Education, Agbor), Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro (formerly Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro) and Delta State University of Science and Agriculture, Anwai-Asaba (formerly Delta State University, Anwai Campus).
The NUC boss said with the approval, Delta State has made history as the state with the largest number of approved public universities.
Prior to the approval, the state government runs only one university, Delta State University, Abraka and about three polytechnics.
He commended the decision of the governor to convert the three existing Colleges into universities to address the education challenges in the state.
“When the government decides to convert existing college of education he is only demonstrating his knowledge of what the people want. In the UK they went through this phase in 1992 the converted all their colleges into universities.
“With the approval of the institutions, Nigeria now has a total of 98 public universities, 45 federal and 53 state private universities.”
He also charged the state to meet with stakeholders and brainstorm on possible ways to ensure that the universities survive
Responding, Governor Okowa said the establishment of the universities will help to address the huge numbers of secondary school graduates seeking admission in tertiary institutions on yearly basis.
He also noted that the local economy stands to benefit from the establishment of these universities and they will increase employment opportunities.
While commending NUC for the support in making the dream a reality, he assured that in the next two years the state will create a solid foundation for the take-off of the institutions, ensuring that it has the best of hands and receive enough funding.