The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius OKojie, has expressed concern over high tuition fees charged by private universities.
Speaking on Thursday in Abuja at the presentation of full Operational Licences to nine private universities earlier granted provisional licences in 2007, 2009 and 2011, Okojie noted that the issue of tuition in private universities depended on the market demand, quality and facilities therein.
“Some private universities charge up to N1 million but it is a market of demand and supply situation; if fees scare students away, it affects the institution.
“If you go to American University, Yola, not only do they provide computers and some other extra things, they take students on tours; there are additional costs not just for the teaching alone.
“It depends on where you want your child to go to. If a private university does not have a good programme and charges high fees, nobody will come; it is a market demand situation.
“We also advise them not to charge astronomical fees, but some grant waivers to indigent students and offer scholarships,” he said.
According to him, the universities granted full licences on Thursday were considered due to their performance and growth within the guidelines stipulated by the commission.
“After three years, we go for accreditation on staff quality and distribution.
“If all the staff members are grade one lecturers, they will not make it; some should be professors; other mid-career and then the bottom.
“Then, governance structure, do they have a council that is running? What is the quality of staff and number and then general environment.
“Are they having crisis? Are they on a permanent structure? what is their relationship with the host environment?, among others,” Okojie explained.
11 other private universities that got provisional licences at the same period with the ones getting full licences were given two-year extension to meet the full accreditation requirements. Okojie said it was because they had yet to meet the basic criteria.
According to him, they have not done well in their accreditation and they are weak in their programmes. He explained that NUC conducts three types of accreditation — full, interim and denied.
“If you have interim in all your programmes after three years, it means you are not doing well.
“Half of your programmes should be full; if you have two or three denied, we will not give you full licence.
“They have to look at their programmes and staff strength; if it is facilities, let them build; two years is enough,” he said.
NAN reports that the nine private universities that got full licences were Caleb University, Lagos, Salem University, Lokoja, Veritas University, Abuja, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti and Nigerian Turkish Nile University, Abuja.
Others are Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Fountain University, Osogbo, Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State and Western Delta University, Oghara, Delta State.
Some of the universities that got two-year extension were Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Rhema University, Aba, Abia; Oduduwa University, Ile-ife and Baze University, Abuja.