A former Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayya Ahmad, has urged the Federal Government to establish more universities to effectively tackle youth restiveness and general insecurity.
Ahmad, made the call on Saturday at the Conference of Alumni Associations in Nigerian Universities (CAANU) held at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), main campus, Samaru, Zaria, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ahmad was appointed the Minister of Education by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 and was relieved of the position in 2013.
The ex-minister spoke on: “Alumni Associations and Quality University Education in the 21st Century”.
Ahmad said: “The issue of new universities in Nigeria is the beginning of solution to dwindling standards of education.
“We need to create more universities to be able to cater for more applicants.
“If we fail to do so, Nigeria is living on a time bomb which may explode any time. Therefore, we really have to be very careful.
“We really need to have a very good plan so that we can effectively take care of large number of applicants to avoid youth restiveness.”
Giving the statistics of admission into the universities from 2010 to 2015, she said that 1,513,940 applied, but only 423,531 got admission, representing only 28 per cent.
According to her, in 2012 and 2013 about 1,632,835 and 1,924,393 respectively applied for admission into Nigerian universities but only 447,176 and 463,395 respectively gained admission, representing 27 and 24 per cent.
Ahmad said that of the total number of applicants, at least 50 per cent have the prerequisite qualification to gain admission into the university system in Nigeria.
According to her, unfortunately, the universities have no capacity to absorb them.
She said that if Nigerian universities could not admit even 50 per cent of the applicants, then, there were no two ways about it; the level of insecurity must be on the increase.
The former minister challenged the alumni association to reciprocate the gesture done to them by paying back to their Alma Mata and take university education to the next level.
She stressed the need for periodic review of curriculum of Nigerian universities to effectively tackle the growing societal and industrial demands from higher institutions.
In his speech, the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, saluted the former minister for accepting to go back to classroom after serving as honourable minister.
Garba described ABU as the most cosmopolitan university in Nigeria bringing together people from different geo-political zones, areas, tribes, religions and ethnic groups.
He said that ABU was reviewing its curriculum every five years in line with the National Universities’ Commission’s rules and regulations.
The vice-chancellor said that ABU had introduced two entrepreneurial courses to enable students to gain entrepreneurial ability before graduating.
The National President, ABU Alumni Association, Prof. Tijjani Mora, said that the association would sustain support to education.
Mora said that the success of every organisation depend on the ability to plan well.
He said that Alumni Association of Nigerian Universities would only succeed and make necessary impact in promoting Nigerian education with support and push by the government at all levels.