There are currently a total of 170 universities in Nigeria comprising the 43 Federal Universities, 48 State Universities and 79 private-owned universities. With a combined total annual intake capacity of 600,000 compared to the average of 2,500,000 applicants year in year out. In 2017, Nigerian universities counted 1.7 million undergraduate students and 234 thousand postgraduate students. Among master students, women accounted for 36 percent of the total, while the female percentage was slightly lower among bachelor students.
Nigeria’s largest university is the National Open University of Nigeria, which had almost half million students as of 2017. The University of Lagos ranked that year as Nigeria’s second largest university in terms of enrollment.
The current structure and system wherein the entirety of the funding primarily comes from government both federal and state levels is not ideal. It leaves the academia to the whims and caprices of the political office holder who often have a reputation of having their own agenda. The present structure does not encourage innovation or reward serious scholarly works and its has been responsible for the incessant strikes across the county by the labor unions representing the ivory tower workers.
Largely affecting the economy is the dearth of the skilled manpower that should be provided by the ivory towers but funding, dearth of infrastructures, dearth capacity development amongst others the products of our ivory towers have been mostly below par when compared with their contemporaries from other climes. As a matter of fact, most universities are merely glorified secondary who barely have classrooms or enough manpower to catered to the teeming number of students.
Its high time government leaves the tertiary sector, and concentrate that on the basic and secondary education. The reality shows that it’s those who mostly pass through these basic & secondary levels that run our economy. The informal sector of the economy rarely foes on strikes and/when they the effect is colossal on the economy and society at large. Therefore, government should focus resources on what is important. Besides, the issue of accountability has bedeviled the ivory towers across the country which is strange as one would expect that lecturers would be people of high moral standards but apparently corruption knows no boundary.
Instead of funding the system directly, the government can create a fund that will be accessible to students who meet the requirements of the minimum entry standard to be decided by government based on the capacity of the funds provided. Government negligence of the basic & secondary levels of education can be said to be responsible for the terrible state of insecurity in the country.
Its better to have only privately owned universities than to have several quack or sub-standard primary & secondary who have more direct impact on the immediate & future of the society.