President Bola Tinubu has authorised a plan to execute only six of the 14 federal tertiary schools founded at the end of the Muhammadu Buhari government, leaving the other eight in limbo. This is because of their cost and unique requirements.
This was revealed to reporters by the minister of education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, following a Wednesday meeting with the president at the presidential palace in Abuja. According to him, the administration has chosen to phase in the execution of these ideas, concentrating on six of them in the fields of agriculture, education, and medicine.
Buhari had approved the development of five new technology and health-focused universities, which his administration claimed would reduce the enormous gap in the doctor-patient ratio as well as in medical research and pharmaceutical product manufacture.
Additionally, he had approved a take-off grant from the TETFund’s funding resources of N4 billion each for the universities of technology and N5 billion each for the institutions of health science for an early take-off. Also, the prior president has authorized the opening of seven new federal polytechnics in states where there were none before.
Monguno, Borno State; N’yak, Shendam Plateau State; Wannune, Benue State; Ugep, Cross River State; Ayede, Oyo State; Ohodo, Enugu State; and Orogun, Delta State are among the places where they are expected to be developed. He also sanctioned the establishment of six new federal schools of education, one in each of the nation’s six geopolitical regions, to be located in the states of Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Sokoto, and Edo.
The minister explained: “There are quite a number of universities and other institutions which were approved in the last days of the last administration, which because of issues of funding and even staff, it may not be prudent to get these institutions to take off altogether at once.
“So, Mr. President has directed we stagger their commencement (their takeoff) whether the government can properly support them.
“Honestly there are very many, probably about a dozen of them, if not more than a dozen or 14. That’s the number and you know tertiary institutions are highly capital intensive, they need a lot of money, especially at that takeoff stage, for infrastructure, staff recruitment and all other needs.
“So by the time you want to start off about 12, 14 institutions at once, it is a very heavy burden on the finances of the government. So, that’s why. Ordinarily we would have said we’ll review whether we should actually go ahead with that, but most of them are specialized institutions; colleges of education, agriculture, medicine and they are institutions that will support some of the mandates, the priority areas of this government.
“We will have a need for trained teachers which colleges of education will provide and the same thing with agriculture.“So, that’s why the government has not stepped down that approval. Instead, the president in his wisdom said we stagger their implementation on the grounds of funds, essentially.“We’re starting with about six, two of each; two agric, two colleges of education and then two medicine.”
“This time around, we’re going to be conservative about the pace of development of tertiary institutions. The priority of this government is going to be on institutions that provide skills that enable its graduates to stand on their own. So that’s the direction we’re moving at the moment,” Mamman noted.
He also disclosed that President Tinubu had approved finishing the multimillion naira National Library Complex in Abuja, a crucial educational facility for the country. The minister stated that the project will be reviewed to determine what needs to be done and how much it will cost by all relevant stakeholders, including the government, consultants, and contractors.