Nigerian Lawmakers Propose 32 Bills for New Educational Institutions
Nigerian Lawmakers Propose 32 Bills for New Educational Institutions Amidst Existing Funding Concerns. The investigation carried out has uncovered that a total of 32 bills have been presented before both the Senate and the House of Representatives within the 10th National Assembly, aimed at establishing new universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.
Despite this surge in proposals for new institutions, concerns have been raised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other experts regarding the government’s focus on creating new facilities without adequately funding existing ones.
Presently, Nigeria boasts 52 federal universities, 63 state universities, and 147 private universities, according to official data from the National Universities Commission. Additionally, there are 40 federal polytechnics, 49 state-owned polytechnics, and 76 private polytechnics, as reported by the National Board for Technical Education. The country also houses 70 federal and state-owned colleges of health, along with 17 private colleges of health. The National Commission for Colleges of Education reported a total of 219 colleges of education across the nation.
A breakdown of the bills revealed that the Speaker of the House of Representatives spearheaded the drive for new institutions. Among the proposals, the establishment of the Federal University of Technology in Kaduna led by the Speaker, with the first reading conducted on July 6, 2023, stood out. Similarly, the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, advocated for the creation of the Federal University of Medical and Health Sciences in Bende, Abia State.
Numerous other bills seek to establish institutions such as the Federal University of Information and Communications Technology in Lagos Island, Federal University of Agriculture in Ute Okpa, Delta State, Federal University of Biomedical Sciences in Benue State, and several Federal Colleges of Health, Agriculture, Education, and Polytechnics in different states.
ASUU representatives, notably Prof. Gbolahan Bolarin from the Federal University of Minna, criticized the lawmakers’ emphasis on new institutions, labeling it a case of misplaced priorities. Bolarin highlighted the existing struggle of institutions to operate effectively and urged a focus on impactful projects instead of compounding the nation’s challenges.
Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, the Programme Director at Reform Education Nigeria, echoed similar sentiments, condemning the lawmakers’ actions as mere attempts to score political points. Oluwatoyin emphasized the perplexing nature of proposing new institutions while existing ones grapple with closures and lack of adequate support, questioning the advisors behind such decisions in the country’s education sector.