By Joseph Erunke
THE Federal Government has ordered immediate crackdown on all illegal tertiary institutions in the country.
Among the affected illegal institutions currently operating in the country, according to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, are 66 universities, 68 polytechnics and Monotechnics as well as specialized technical and vocational institutions.
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Addressing the media yesterdayin Abuja, Adamu said the government had given the National Universities Commission, NUC, National Commission for Colleges of Education and the National Board for Technical Education,NBTE, the order to go after the illegal institutions. He said operators and promoters of the institutions will not only to be apprehended but they will be prosecuted.
The minister said the government was worried at the menace of the illegal higher institutions, adding that the continuous proliferation of illegal universities in the country in particular, had become a source of embarrassment to it.
To this end,he said:”In 2019, the federal government is determined to confront this menace frontally. The federal government will not sit back and allow lawless conduct to overwhelm the sector.
“I want to use this opportunity to direct all regulatory agencies in the public education sector, namely, The National Universities Commission, NUC; National Commission for Colleges of Education and the National Board for Technical Education,NBTE, to work with relevant security agencies to immediately crackdown hard on all illegal tertiary institutions within their jurisdiction.
“Promoters of such institutions should be immediately be apprehended and persecuted. “Let me warn those promoting illegal institutions that the days of treating such institutions with kid gloves are over. Anyone caught in the act will be severely punished.
“I must add that the processes of accreditation of tertiary institutions have been streamlined and there is no reason whatsoever for any institution not to come forward for proper accreditation.” Speaking further, the minister said:”Although, the illegality of the unauthorised universities in itself is enough reason for their closure,the root cause of their continuous resurgence is not far-fetched. “The unprecedented population growth of our society makes it not unexpected that education seekers would look for an outlet, should there be any delay by government in establishing enough schools to keep pace with the educational demands of the populace.
“The end result has come to be the embarrassment of embracing ‘illegally acquired’ education through the cutting of corners by approved universities which create substandard satellite campuses,study centres and outreach centres.
“Worse still is that these unapproved establishments are usually manned by unqualified or unrecognised personnel. The most outrageous is the outright establishment of the fake institutions masquerading as universities with all sorts of affiliations. These are now a common feature in our educational landscape. He attributed the development to factors, which he listed to include “greed, fraud and endemic corruption.”
According to him, “Four major factors are responsible for the recent upsurge in the number of illegal providers of degree-awarding institutions.
“First is greed, fraud and endemic corruption in the society. The major motivational issue here is to corrupt educational system by providing substandard institutions in return for the high fees they charge their students. These illegal providers are mainly driven by greed to make quick money, without any desire to comply with the required prescribed regulations.
“Secondly, there exists the problem of insufficient access for the large pool of qualified candidates that sit for the yearly Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.