A former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has told the Federal Government to formulate policies to make polytechnics and colleges of education attractive to students.
Jega, who gave the advice at the maiden convocation lecture of the Federal University, Dutse in Jigawa on Saturday, stressed that such policies should also address problems of access to education.
In his lecture entitled: "Reforming the Nigerian Tertiary Education Sector: Challenges and Prospects at the Federal University, Dutse," Jega noted that applicants for university education were increasing.
The demand for polytechnics, colleges of education and mono-technics was less among applicants of tertiary institutions compared to those that applied for universities.
Widening access to education must be combined with policies that would make other tertiary institutions attractive.
In 2010, over 1.3 million students applied for university education and about 200,000 of them were admitted while only 45,000 students wanted to go polytechnics and colleges of education.
It is unfortunate that opportunity for applicants to get university education is shrinking rather than expanding and demand is increasing while access is decreasing."
Jega argued that the new private universities that came on board did not do much to reduce the number of people that wanted to have university education.
The former Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano noted that this was because the private universities only opened space for a few that could afford the fees.
The don disclosed that private universities in Nigeria could only admit 7.2 per cent of the total enrollment for 2010/2011 academic session.
Jega also advocated quality and relevant education for Nigerian tertiary institutions to make them compete with similar institutions in the world.
According to him, current curricula in some tertiary institutions are out-dated and must be reviewed to address contemporary issues.