Even with 120 approved universities in the country, it has been noted that the number is not enough for Nigerians seeking tertiary education. British Council Country Director in Nigeria, David Higgs, who made the remarks, described the 120 approved universities in the country as grossly inadequate to cater for the growing desire of young people for universities and college education. Higgs, who described the proposed six new varsities by the Federal Government as a right decision in the right direction, noted that if the 20 per cent enrolment figure of candidates who wrote the last Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) given by the National Universities Commission (NUC) is anything to go by, the country needs more higher institutions to accommodate the rest that missed out of the exercise.
Higgs noted that the need for appropriate number of universities in Nigeria underscores the Council’s activities with universities in Nigeria to expand the number of students that can be registered for different fields of studies.
While describing the establishment of new universities as a global practice, Higgs debunked the claims of easy admission into British universities and colleges, noting that admission requirements in some British universities are very tough depending on the high number of applications at a time.
“University education is now business and expensive globally. Universities are businesses now all over the world and they have to use different business models to sustain their business. As a result they collaborate and partner with other institutions in their part of the world,” Higgs added.
Stressing the need for collaboration, Higgs expressed conviction of collaborative partnerships between Nigerian universities and various British institutions as a way of boosting academic exchange for programmes not offered by the local partners.
He added that it has become imperative for universities to collaborate and to behave like businessmen in order to offer the best opportunities to people in the future.
On the issue of brain drain, Higgs enthused that many Nigerians who studied overseas now return home in view of the fast growing economy of the country.
“There are new industries in telecommunications and information technology. These are the opportunities and the young Nigerians are coming home to take advantage of that after studies. Look around Lagos and you will see a lot of faces you used to see in London. You begin to wonder whether you are in London or Lagos. You will meet a lot of people who studied and lived in the United Kingdom,” he said.