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VC kicks against further approval of private varsities

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Joseph Ayo Babalola University

Acting vice Chancellor of Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Prof. Theophilus Olowokure, has urged the Federal Government to desist from licensing new private universities as lifeline for already existing ones.

Olowokure said this yesterday at the press conference to herald the ninth convocation ceremony of the institution, saying that private universities in the country were facing serious survival challenges.

The VC lamented that JABU, like most private universities in the country, had not been able to meet her yearly admission quota.

He attributed the problems mainly to the high fees charged in private universities and government’s continuous approval of new ones.

He said: “Licensing new universities is not the answer. It will only sentence some private universities to bankruptcy later. If for political expediency, government cannot increase fees in public universities, the clamour for TETFund intervention in private universities is justified.

“The continual approval of new private universities on the assumption that there are more students seeking admission has the effect of increasing the total admission capacities of private universities and decline in admission to popular programmes in existing private universities.

“Parents who can afford the private universities’ fees are very few because of the level of poverty in the country.”

“Unless fees in public universities move closer to those in private universities or there is a phenomenal increase in the average income of the population, the admission problem will remain with us for many years.

“The high frequency, which is necessitated by the need to cover high overhead costs has the effect of making parents of prospective students and their wards shun private universities in preference for public universities that charge relatively low fees.

“Government should stop issuing licences to new private universities until admission situation of the existing ones improves significantly.

In another development, a committee set up by Ebonyi State government to investigate sack of the university’s members of staff has commenced public hearing.

The management of Ebonyi State University had last year sacked 63 members of staff and over 100 contract workers citing multiple age declaration and falsification of certificate.

Chairman of the committee and Commissioner for Information, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, who spoke with journalists after the hearing, refuted the insinuation that setting up of the panel was political.

He said the committee would be objective with all the presentations.

He said: “We have seen the thoroughness with which the university did what they did and the human impact. We have also seen the individuals that came to throw more light on what happened and all of these are the factors we are going to take into account and give a compassionate report and recommendations to the governor.”


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