Many parents and candidates seeking admission into the universities for the 2022/2023 academic session have shifted their interest to private universities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) survey in Abia shows that private universities have become feasible alternatives due to the lingering strike by lecturers in public universities.
The nationwide action by the lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has paralysed academic activities in all the federal universities in the country since Feb. 14
The unfortunate development, which has become perennial in the country, appears to have betrayed the people’s confidence in public universities.
Worried by the scenario, many admission seekers in the country, aided by their parents and guardians, have now resorted to private universities.
At Madonna University, Okija in Anambra, the Public Relations Officer, Mr Emeka Okpara, said that most of the courses offered in both the Elele and Okija campuses of the institution were fully subscribed to in the just-concluded academic session.
According to Opara, since JAMB released the 2022 results, many people have been calling to enquire about our admission requirements.
A lecturer in the university, who pleaded anonymity, said the school had already exceeded its quota in some of the courses.
He said that the institution presently stood the risk of being sanctioned by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
At the Tansian University, Umunya in Anambra, a member of staff in the Admission Department said that the university was already experiencing an upsurge in the number of admission seekers.
“We have had good students’ enrollment since the university was established about 15 years ago.
“However, the level of enrollment increased last year,” he said on the condition of anonymity.
He ascribed the development to the ongoing industrial action by ASUU, in addition to the “excellent academic performance” by the institution.
Mr Lawrence Nwaimo, who is seeking admission to Paul University, Awka, said the school had commenced admission for the 2022/2023 academic session.
Nwaimo said that there were many candidates struggling to gain admission due to the limited chances in the institution.
“I have been going to the university since last week and I usually met a crowd of people in the admission office each time I came there,” he said.
In Ebonyi, the Public Relations Officer, Evangel University, Dr Thenz Nwali, said that the incessant strikes by ASUU and Non-Academic Staff Union in public universities led to more students seeking admission into the institution.
An official in the university’s Admission Department also said on the condition of anonymity that many candidates were coming to the institution to seek admission.
He said: “The incessant strikes in the public universities have pushed up students enrollment in our school.
“Even the candidates who did not have our institution either as first or second choice are coming to seek admission here.”
In Abia, the Vice Chancellor, Clifford University, said that the 2021/2022 academic session had just ended and that enrollment for the 2022/2023 session had yet to commence.
“We will begin to enroll new students in October.
“That is when we will start to see the impact of the strike, whether there is an improvement or not.
“So, for now, we do not know what the impact of the strike will be on the enrollment of students,” Omeonu said.
He further said that available statistics from the previous enrollments did not show any increase as a result of ASUU strikes.
Also, Prof. Ambrose Ugbogu, the Vice Chancellor of All Saints University of Theology and Seminary, said that the statistics of the university’s enrollment had not revealed any increase in the past six months.
Ugbogu said that the charges by private universities could be one of the factors discouraging students from switching from public to private universities.
“Also, those who were already admitted into public universities would not want to relinquish their admission,” he said.
He, however, admitted that some undergraduates and parents might begin to contemplate changing institutions, should the strike linger into the commencement of the 2022/2023 academic session.
Mr Sleek Ogwo, the Principal Assistant Registrar/Head, Media and Public Relations, Gregory University, Uturu, said that it would be difficult to give any statistics of enrollment, when admission for the 2022/2023 had not begun.
Ogwo said that the university had just concluded its 2021/2022 session and would soon begin the admission process.
“We can only ascertain whether there is an increase in enrollment compared to our previous records around October, when we should be done with admission,” he said.
A parent, who identified herself as Mrs Gloria Duru, said that she had lost interest in public universities because of the incessant disruptions in academic activities due to industrial disputes between ASUU and the Federal Government.
Duru said that the private universities had provided an alternative, provided one could afford the financial resources.
She said that she had been able to secure admission for two of her children at both Cliford University and Gregory University, Uturu.
In Imo, Rev. Fr. Emeka Iheme, a Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, Claretian University of Nigeria, Nekede, near Owerri, said the institution was expecting more than double the number of students admitted in the last session.
Iheme said that the university admitted at least 71 students in their first academic session in 2021, when the institution was established.
He said that at least 300 prospective students had so far enrolled for the next session billed to commence in October.
He argued that the ASUU strike could be a factor since parents and guardians were confident that their children and wards would graduate in record time in private universities.
He further opined that the increase in the number of the university’s enrollment could be attributable to the introduction of new courses scheduled to start next session, following their accreditation by NUC.