Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The federal government has directed the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), to work with security agencies and crackdown on all illegal tertiary institutions within their jurisdictions.
It also directed that operators of such institutions should be arrested and prosecuted, warning their promoters of such illegal institution that days of action with kid gloves are over, and that severe punishment awaits anyone caught in the act.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, told journalists at the weekend in Abuja, that proliferation of illegal tertiary institutions in Nigeria had become a source of embarrassment to the government, in addition to being a threat to Nigeria’s education system.
He recalled that government recently identified 66 illegal universities, 68 polytechnics and several colleges of education operating in different part of Nigeria, with all sort of affiliations and had directed action against them.
Adamu said that apart from the already identified illegal institutions, there were many unapproved and illegal institutions springing up daily in Nigeria, due to the quest for higher education certificates by Nigerians and inability of many students to secure admission into higher institutions of their choice.
He disclosed that some of the illegal institutions were based in Nigeria, while some others operate online platforms in unapproved linkages and affiliations with substandard foreign institutions that have no accreditation or recognition of regulatory bodies either in Nigeria or their home countries.
He confessed that the proliferation and activities of illegal tertiary institutions had made the job of regulatory agencies in the sector very difficult, hence the urgent need to salvage Nigeria’s education system from collapse.
The minister was worried that illegal institutions default in tax payment, violate rules of admission quota, course accreditation with practically no standards. And as expected, the end products are half-baked and unemployable graduates who cannot defend whatever they have.
He admitted that greed, fraud and endemic corruption, insufficient admission opportunities, and no-set- standards for entry requirements, might have contributed to the thriving of the illegal tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
He, however, commended the efforts made so far by regulatory agencies particularly in setting and maintaining standards and curbing the menace of illegal tertiary institutions.