Eletiofe Okowa: New universities will broaden access to tertiary education...

Okowa: New universities will broaden access to tertiary education – Okowa

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Okowa stated this on Wednesday, April 7 in Asaba, while inaugurating an eight-member Project Management Committee for the three newly-established universities in the state.

The Committee has Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare as Chairman, with Ambassador Godson Echegile, Prof. Emmanuel Nwanze, Prof. John Enaohwo, Prof. Abednigo Ekoko, Prof. Sam Ukala, Mr Ejiro Udjo as members; while Mrs Bridget Odobor will serve as Secretary.

He stated that members of the committee were carefully chosen based on their track records in the academia, public administration and the private sector, adding that they were men of deep intellect and managerial acumen.

“I have absolute confidence in their ability to get the job done,” he says.

The governor says those criticizing the establishment of four universities in the state have no knowledge of the critical data available to the government.

“On Friday, March 26, 2021, the National Universities Commission granted the State Government operating license for the three newly-created universities in Asaba, Agbor and Ozoro.

“With that approval, we have scaled the major hurdle for their establishment. What remains now is for us as an administration, to set in motion the appropriate structures and operational modalities for their successful take-off in the 2021/2022 academic session.

“In line with the process-driven character of this administration, it behooves us to have a Project Management Committee to midwife the successful transition/take-off of these universities – Dennis Osadebey University, Asaba, University of Delta, Agbor, and Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro.

“I am aware there are some who question the rationale for having four universities in the state.

“It is because such people are not privy to the data available to government and are therefore, understandably not conversant with the harsh reality confronting multiplied thousands of qualified secondary school graduates in their quest for university education.

“As a government, we are daily confronted with the sense of gloom and doom experienced by these young men and women who cannot gain admission into the existing public universities due to inadequate space.

“I will cite some statistics. In the JAMB report of 2018, 80,131 Deltans representing 4.85 per cent of total applicants sat for the board’s university entrance examination.

“However, only a fraction of those who passed could be admitted. Also, for the 2019/2020 academic session, 25,896 candidates from the State chose Delta State University as first choice. Out of this number, 22,358 qualified but only 4,854 candidates could be admitted.

“As you can see, even the State-owned DELSU has reached its full-carrying capacity,” he adds.

The governor laments that majority of Deltans could not afford the fees charged by private universities.

Frustrated, some of the youth resort to anti-social vices while many join the migrant train in search of greener pastures in Europe using unorthodox methods, he adds.

He says, “it is therefore incumbent on us as an administration to broaden access to university education for our bright students, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, law, ICT, and architecture.”

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