Less Than 100,000 Students Studying In Nigeria’s Sixty Nine Private Universities
Recent computations citing the number of matriculating students over the past four to five years has revealed that there are over 95,000 Nigerians schooling at the Nation’s 69 Private Universities.
The computations carried out by HEHProject also reveals that there are about 1 million and 1.1 million Students schooling at the Nation’s 46 State and 40 Federal Universities respectively.
The research reveals that three Private Universities from the South Western part of Nigeria; Afe Babalola University, Babcock University and Covenant University put together has about 30,000 students and undoubtedly educate the largest number of Young individuals seeking private higher education in the Country.
The Private University with the highest number of Undergraduate applications in the entire country is Covenant University with a general 50% admittance rate making it the hardest private university to get admitted in the Country.
Interestingly, Engineering, Computer Science and Architecture remain the most sought after degree programmes in Covenant University with about 30% admittance rate. The University which receives the second highest applications in the Country is Babcock followed by ABUAD. According to Afe Babalola, founder of ABUAD the most sought after degree program in his University is Law. Medicine is also very competitive at the Nation’s top private Universities.
The private universities with the highest number of enrolled students are Babcock University, ABUAD and Covenant University respectively. Babcock University also matriculates the highest number of post graduate students. Currently, only Babcock and Covenant matriculate post graduate students in the excess of a hundred students.
Most other Private Universities in the country were able to only recruit around 200-400 students each year. Research also showed that many Private Universities which could easily recruit a thousand students during the first decade of private higher education could no longer do so due to the establishment of more private universities which led to more competition.
While 95,000 might seem dismal, with more patronage, trust in the system and moderate fees the current Private Universities in the country can expand their facilities to comfortably accommodate 650,000 Nigerians which would reduce the financial burden of educating Nigerians on the Govt and would equally ensure that Education tourism is kept at it’s reasonable minimum.
Speaking on the heels of the released data, one of the Co-founders of the HEH project. A leading scholar in one of Nigeria’s prominent State Universities stated that the major reason why Nigerians are not applying massively to Private Universities is because 80% of students in public universities can not afford private universities.
He further stated that Most Nigerians don’t see the wisdom in spending so much on Higher education when many graduates of private universities alongside their foreign and public university counterparts are equally going to face a society with Chronic low employment.
He however expressed hope for the future of private universities and also concluded that it would be unfair to compare the enrollment of public and private universities considering that private universities are still very young.
Vincent Chinonso a Co-founder of HEHProject and a Graduate of Covenant University also reiterated that cost has always been the obstacle preventing students from applying to private Universities. He believes that if Government extends TETfund Grants to Private Institutions it would go a long way in driving the tuition of Private Universities down so individuals who couldn’t access it initially would be able to do so.
The founder of the project, Olaleye Ifelola also stated that he believes that the issue of low enrollment in Private Universities isn’t simply just cost. He stated that a combination of issues ranging from poor research profile, poor branding, low advertisements, poor ranking, poor recruitment drive and low reputation were the major reasons why many private universities find it hard to recruit students.
He however implored Private Universities to give Middle-Class Nigerians good enough reasons to ditch Public Universities and go for them. If I’m going to spend 500,000 Naira schooling in a Private University then I have got to be sure I am going to get more than just ‘escaping’ Strike.
He also stated that going further the HEHProject was poised to help solve some of the Challenges that were plaguing Higher Education and that he is confident that the the future of Higher Education in Nigeria is bright.