313 Illegal Varsities, Polys Uncovered In Eight Years

No fewer than 313 illegal universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education were discovered between 2015 and April 2023, an analysis by Saturday PUNCH has revealed.

Our correspondent, who conducted a tally from May 2019 to April 2023 observed that while some of these illegal tertiary institutions were uncovered by state ministries of education, others were discovered by sting operations conducted by regulatory bodies such as the National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education.

Saturday PUNCH reports that NUC, NCCE and NBTE are agencies domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Education responsible for the monitoring of Universities, Inter-university centres, Polytechnics, Monotechnics and Colleges of Education.

In 2014, during the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, a total of 50 illegal polytechnics were shut down.

Under the current regime, the number of illegal institutions has continued to increase over factors ranging from “the limited space available in the university system,” experts say.

Saturday PUNCH reports that apart from the existence of tertiary institutions operating illegitimately, certain government-owned institutions have also been caught in the web of conducting illegal programmes for students.

A breakdown of illegal institutions discovered under Buhari, as analysed by our correspondent, showed that a total of 67 illegal universities were nabbed in the period under review; 80 illegal polytechnics were discovered and 166 illegal colleges of education were also discovered.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that 41 out of the 166 illegal colleges of education were discovered in Bauchi State alone.

Though the NUC says the war against illegal universities is still on, an education expert, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, in an interview with our correspondent noted that the problem of illegal institutions will continue to persist.

“I want you to understand that illegal universities exist because of various reasons. We have greedy individuals who think institutions are cash cows hence they just create an institution and boom they start running it.

“We also have the situation where the institutions in a particular area, by virtue of the quota given to some schools by JAMB, are not enough to cater for the number of students in the area. In all, the consequences of running illegal institutions outweigh what seems to be the benefits. For one, the graduates won’t be mobilized for the mandatory National Youth Service Corp and this will amount to a waste of time for all the years spent.”


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