Federal Government has announced the establishment of four new universities to address shortfall in technology, medicine and nutrition.
The four new institutions are to be located in Jigawa, Akwa Ibom, Osun and Bauchi States, while four other existing universities of technology are also to be upgraded.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sonny Echono, disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja on Monday.
Adamu also said that a National Institute of Technology (NIT) would be established in Abuja to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation.
According to him, the initiative will draw the best graduates from the six universities of technology as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria.
He said: “Recall that at the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he promised to establish an apex National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Abuja with six satellite universities of technology, one in each geo-political zone of the country.
“This was captured in the 2015 APC manifesto and also stressed in the Education for Change: Ministerial Strategic Plan 2018–2022 of the ministry. The objective is to stimulate rapid technological transformation of the country.
“After a comprehensive review of the policy by key stakeholders in the education sector, it was resolved that the four existing Universities of Technology located in Yola (North East), Akure (South West), Owerri (South East) and Minna (North Central) be upgraded and equipped while two additional universities of technology to be located in Jigawa and Akwa Ibom States, would be established for the purpose.”
According to the ministry, the National Institute of Technology (NIT) shall be patterned after similar institutions in Singapore and Malaysia.
“This is to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation, drawing the best graduates from the six universities of technology as well as other exceptional graduates from reputable universities within and outside Nigeria,” he said.
Adamu said the President had also approved the phased development programme, compelled by the country’s lean resources.
He said the two new universities of technology would be established in 2021, while the upgrade of the existing four universities of technology and the national institute of technology would come up in 2022.
The minister added that the President had also observed from the report of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the weak institutional capacity for disease control and surveillance in the country, particularly with respect to medical facilities, trained personnel and supporting infrastructure.
“With the recent establishment of the only Federal Government-owned University of Health Sciences, Otukpo in Benue State and the huge gap in doctor-patient ratio as well as in medical research and production of pharmaceutical products, government recognised the compelling need to establish two other specialised universities in Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences.
“These universities will be located at Azare, Bauchi State and Ila Orangun, Osun State. These shall lay a solid foundation for building national preparedness and resilience in anticipation of future challenges in the health sector, while reducing medical tourism to countries like India, UAE, Egypt, Europe and the U.S,”the minister said.
Adamu said the President also approved a take-off grant of N4 billion each for the Universities of Technology and N5 billion each for the Universities of Health Science from the funding resources of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
He said his ministry would collaborate with its counterparts in health, science and technology, communications and digital economy, and the FCT administration as well as other relevant agencies and institutions to facilitate speedy actualisation of the projects.