From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has said the creation of three new universities in the state is to broaden Deltans’ access to university education.
The state government recently upgraded three tertiary institutions to degree awarding universities.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has already granted operating licenses for the new institutions located in Agbor, Ozoro and Asaba, and expected to start academic activities in the 2021/2022 session.
Inaugurating an eight-member Project Management Committee for the three newly established universities on Wednesday, Governor Okowa said those criticising the establishment of the universities in the state had no knowledge of the critical data available to the government.
‘In line with the process-driven character of this administration, it behoves us to have a Project Management Committee to midwife the successful transition/take-off of these universities – Dennis Osadebey University, Asaba; University of Delta, Agbor; and Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro.
‘I am aware there are some who question the rationale for having four universities in the state. It is because such people are not privy to the data available to government and are therefore, understandably not conversant with the harsh reality confronting multiplied thousands of qualified secondary school graduates in their quest for university education.
‘As a government, we are daily confronted with the sense of gloom and doom experienced by these young men and women who cannot gain admission into the existing public universities due to inadequate space.
‘I will cite some statistics. In the JAMB report of 2018, 80,131 Deltans representing 4.85 per cent of total applicants sat for the board’s university entrance examination.
‘However, only a fraction of those who passed could be admitted. Also, for the 2019/2020 academic session, 25,896 candidates from the State chose Delta State University as first choice. Out of this number, 22,358 qualified but only 4,854 candidates could be admitted.
‘As you can see, even the state-owned DELSU has reached its full-carrying capacity,’ he said.
The committee has Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare as Chairman, with Ambassador Godson Echegile, Prof Emmanuel Nwanze, Prof John Enaohwo, Prof Abednigo Ekoko, Prof Sam Ukala, Mr Ejiro Udjo as members, while Mrs Bridget Odobor will serve as Secretary.
It has eight weeks to complete the assignment.
Chairman of the committee Muoboghare thanked the governor for the choice of members of the committee.
He assured that his committee would work hard to submit its report within the stipulated period.