Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), said the agency was in the final stage of “a draft review’’ of Nigeria’s university curriculum.
It was reported that Abubakar Rasheed stated this at a high-level interactive dialogue commemorating this year’s International Day of Education at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Speaking as a panelist at the event, he said the move was part of efforts by the Federal Government to revitalise the country’s tertiary education system.
“We are about to conclude the draft review of the entire country’s curriculum, working closely with the industries in the country to identify the gaps between the classroom experience and the workplace experience”, he said.
Abubakar Rasheed stated that a committee of experts, raised by the commission two years ago to examine the sector, produced a draft blueprint with inputs from all stakeholders.
In the blueprint, he said, poor access and quality of university education were identified as the major challenges in the system.
“Currently, there are 172 universities in Nigeria. 79 are privately owned, largely by churches, some by Muslim organisations and by individuals.
“The others are public universities owned by the Federal Government and various state governments.
“We have a total population enrollment of slightly over two million in the entire university system, which spells a very serious problem; it is almost a crisis.
“A population of 200 million people with a total university enrolment of just two million translates into one per cent of the population currently in the university.
“I am very happy to say that in most universities, actually, there are more female students than male students, especially in private universities.
“In general, it is just about 42 per cent of the total population that are female, and about 58 per cent are males,’’ he said.
On teaching, the executive secretary said there were currently 61,000 academics in the nation’s university system out of which only about 17 per cent were female.
He said the government’s major focus now was how to attract more female graduates into teaching, especially in the “hard core areas of Engineering, Basic Medical Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Agriculture.
“But in the fields of Medicine, Art, Humanities, Languages, Education, the gender ratio is either 50-50 or there are more female lecturers.”