Govt Issues Provisional Licences to Nine Private Universities (allAfrica.com)

The federal government on Thursday issued provisional licences to the nine new private universities with a note of caution against operating outside the regulations governing the operation of universities in Nigeria.
Speaking at a ceremony where he presented the licences to the proprietors of the universities in Abuja, the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, urged that high academic quality and moral standards should not be compromised for any reason as the licences would be withdrawn if any of the universities is found wanting.
Substantive licences would only be issued in three years after successful fulfilment of all the laid down requirements, he said.
“Prior to this approval, Nigeria had 129 universities, servicing a population of over 170 million people. In comparison to countries like Brazil and Mexico which have 1,648 and 1250 universities to service populations of 203 million and 120 million respectively, the gross inadequacy of this figure in relation to population size becomes glaring,” Shekarau said.
He disclosed that as universities remain a core platform for human capital development, the government would continue to work to improve access to the sector.
The nine universities are Augustine University, Ilara-Lagos State, Chrisland University, Owode-Ogun State, Christopher University, Mowe-Ogun state, Hallmark University, Ijebu Itele – Ogun state, Kings University, Ode Omu-Osun state and Michael & Cecilia Ibru University, Owhrode-Delta State.
Others are Mountain Top University, Makogi Oba, Ogun State, Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State and Summit University, Offa, Kwara State.
They are attached to existing universities for mentoring and supervision. This brings to 59, the number of private universities in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a total of 1,475,477 candidates are expected to write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) which kicks off in 400 centres across the country on March 9, 2015.
This year’s tests which are expected to end March 21, signify the full transformation into the Computer Based Test (CBT) module following the elimination of the Paper Pencil Test.
208 inmates are registered to write the exams in Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons where computers would be made available to them, while 192 visually impaired candidates would use braille systems with programme audio questions.
The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. ‘Dibu Ojerinde made these disclosures at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday where he debunked a newspaper report (not THISDAY) that the exams had been postponed due to technical problems being experienced ahead of its commencement.
The examinations would also hold in the restive states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe with 15,692, 15,613 and 10,044 candidates respectively, he said.
The needs of the Diaspora candidates will also be catered for in seven foreign centres: Accra, Ghana; Bea, Cameroon; Cotonou, Benin Republic, London, United Kingdom; Jeddah. Saudi Arabia; Johannesburg, South Africa and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“Following the determination to curb the incidences of examination malpractice and other related offences, the board will continue to use the biometric verification machine to verify candidates before admitting them for the examinations. Also candidates will be expected to thumb-print after the examinations,” the Registrar noted.