At a time the Nigerian tertiary education sector is in shambles and mired in a quagmire, the Federal government is set to embark on another wild goose chase which will increase the burden on the sector and lead to further rot.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi while speaking with journalists in Abuja a few days ago said the federal government has concluded plans to establish a University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina.
According to the minister, the new university which will be built by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company will cost 18 billion naira. In an attempt to defend the establishment of the university, Amaechi said the institution is necessary to meet the growing demand for manpower in the sector.
Even though the reason for its establishment may sound impressive, the implementation has taken a wrong footing. It is evident that Nigeria needs manpower for the transportation sector, however, what we don’t need is a new university. What could be done is to establish a Faculty of Transportation that will handle this demand in any of the federal government-owned University of Technology that are already offering transportation technology as a course. This will be a better and faster way of attaining the needed manpower.
The decision to establish a new university in Daura is ill-advised and unnecessary. At the moment, the Buhari-led administration has done absolutely nothing to improve the state of education in the country.
The NEEDS Assessment report released by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) six years ago is yet to be implemented. The existing universities are in dire need of manpower, infrastructure and funding. At the moment, some courses have lost their accreditation in several federal universities due to poor funding.
The dearth of personnel in these universities has made them more or less of a coaching centre as many of the lecturers and professors have departed for greener pastures to private universities. The percentage of budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education is abysmally low. So sad is the situation that just 7 percent was allocated to education in the 2018 Budget – the worst in the past few years.
What is the fate of the Army University established in Borno which is yet to take off one year after its proposed date?
It is important the Minister of Transportation takes into cognizance the poor state of the existing universities before adding to it. The eighteen billion Naira that is allocated to the new university should be used to fund the existing universities in the country. We cannot continue to add to the list of Universities in Nigeria while the existing ones are practically gasping for breath.