The Federal Government, on Monday said that all necessary arrangement has been concluded to established nine more universities.
Shekarau made this assertion in Abuja while X-raying the Nigerian Basic Education Sector (2011-2015).
This will bring to 18 the number of universities it had approved in last three years.
The Education Minister, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, also stated that the government had earmarked N1.3tn as intervention grant to its universities courtesy of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy Assessment Programme.
The minister said, “If not for technical reason, another nine would have been approved before now. Soon, we shall sort out all the outstanding issues and they will receive government approval. This will bring to 113 the number of universities in the country and 18 private universities approved in the last three years.”
The minister said that the NEEDS Assessment intervention grant was sequel to several deliberations between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
He explained, “We have persistent complaints from our universities about dilapidated laboratories and so on; then the government took the bull by the horn. President Goodluck Jonathan set up a committee to go round the universities on the platform of NEEDS Assessment which was conducted two years ago.
“At the end of the assessment, the universities came up with a bill of N1.3tn required to address the necessary need in public universities and the government accepted it. Since the government cannot dish out N1.3tn all at once, there is an agreement between the Federal Government and the leadership of the ASUU that the needs be addressed over a period of five years with a provision of N220bn every year.”
According to the minister, the NEEDS intervention is in addition to normal budgetary allocations to universities and TETFund interventions, among others.
On the incessant strikes by unions in the tertiary institutions, Shekarau said the Federal Government was trying to address the challenges.
He said, “I think we are making some progress on incessant strikes in the sector. We have succeeded in ensuring we have strike-free sessions in our institutions. We are determined to achieve this and the issue of strike would soon be a forgotten issue.
“This doesn’t mean there won’t be problems. There is hardly any sector where there is no problem but frank and strong discussions can resolve them. It is our hope that exchange of views would help us to be strike-free in this country.”
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