By Vincent Obia
The recent revelation by the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, that Nigeria can only accommodate about 30 percent of all those who seek admission into the higher institutions of learning each year is a sad commentary.
This is despite all the talk about educational transformation. Rufa’l said only 520,000 of the 1.7 million that wrote the 2013 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination this year could be offered admission by the country’s universities, polytechnics, and Colleges of Education. The fate of about 1.2 million candidates hangs in the balance.
To solve the problem, the minister called for more Pubic Private Partnership and urged states to assist in building more universities.
But a more pragmatic approach to the shortage of spaces in the tertiary institutions, it seems, would be the encouragement of regional efforts in the educations sector. States within geopolitical zones or contiguous zones can join together to build mega institutions that would take a lot more candidates than the tiny numbers admitted by the individual institutions.