Stakeholders have expressed divergent views on the recent approval of the additional 20 private universities in the country by the Federal Government.
They expressed their views on the development in separate interviews with the Newsmen Abuja on Friday.
It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on Wednesday given the approval of the establishment of the universities, bringing the number of private universities to 99.
Prof. Gregory Ibe, the Chairman, Proprietors of Private Universities in Nigeria, described the establishment of the new institutions as a giant stride and commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the executive council for the development.
“It will further help in creating choices for candidates of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and increase the capacity of universities to absorb yearly seekers of higher education.
“What this singular action entails is that instead of mushroom universities springing up outside Nigeria and patronised by our teeming youths without the NUC’s guideline, it is better we have these universities licensed to operate.
“No doubt the spread of private universities is looking good. I sincerely believe that the Federal Government in the future will do more and help private institutions receive grants,” he said.
On the contrary, Mr Sunday Asefon, National President, National Association of Nigerian Students, said that the approval of the private universities might weaken public tertiary institutions in the country.null
Asefon said that lecturers would be forced to withdraw from public institutions to these private institutions and as such would weaken human capital.
“The tertiary education system is now fully commercialised and investors are trooping into the sector.
“The approval of the new universities naturally should be a plus as they will bring more competition into the sector thereby improving research and innovations and also providing choices for students and researchers to choose.
“However, the approval of these private universities might end up weakening the public tertiary institutions more given the reality of our system.