RESCUING THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN NIGERIA: THE ROLE OF PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES
DOMINION UNIVERSITY MATRICULATION LECTURE
21 FEBRUARY, 2023
Professor Francis O Egbokhare
One way to look at the theme of this lecture is to suggest that a redemptive mission for the education sector is ongoing and in this mission, private universities are actively involved. A second way is to look at the challenges of higher education provision and the role of private universities in helping to mitigate the challenges. I choose the second approach because it is more open to objective evaluation. The framing questions therefore are:
- What are the challenges of the education sector in Nigeria?
- How are private universities helping to resolve these challenges?
The foregoing means that we need to provide good background information against which we can situate our analysis.
Private Universities refer to non–public or autonomous institutions of higher learning which do not receive funding from the government and are licensed to operate in the academic industry by the government. Private universities are mostly solely owned, financed and managed by private individuals with the primary motives of profit maximization and manpower development.
There are presently 99 universities privately owned by individuals, organizations and religious bodies. Thus, since 1999 when the pioneer three private universities were established, private universities have operated for about twenty (20) years in Nigeria (James and Botimi-Slaboh 2019). Private involvement in higher education is not restricted to formal university setup. Some examples of private participation in higher education delivery in Nigeria are: Portal Services Providers; Tutorial Centers; Electronic Test Centers; Big Cyber Café operators; content developers; Community and Private Libraries; Telecommunications Operators; N.G.Os & C.B.O’s Involved in Education; Professional Institutes; Private Hostel Operators; training and consultancy outfits, among others.
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