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THE Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, yesterday said the National Universities Commission (NUC) has discovered 55 illegal universities operating in the country.

  Shekarau, who disclosed this in a speech he delivered at the 60th National Council on Education meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, stated that the relevant law enforcement agencies had already been informed to take necessary action against the operators.
  The minister said the government would do everything to ensure that operators of such illegal universities are “stopped from further ruining the future of the nation’s youths.”
  He called on state governments to complement the efforts of the tertiary education regulatory bodies by creating more awareness on the existence of unapproved universities, polytechnics and colleges of education by “explaining clearly the damage such institutions can cause individual victims and society generally.”
  Speaking on insecurity in some parts of the country, which he said had disrupted academic life in a number of public schools, Shekarau stated: “We can no longer afford to underestimate the need to map out co-ordinated action plan for our institutions to always be on security alert.
   “There is the need for us to continuously review security issues in our institutions so as to protect our children”
  On his part, the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, stated that on my assumption of office in May 2011, his first mission was to carry out critical assessment of the education sector with a view to determining appropriate interventions.
  “This exercise revealed confounding challenges which included dilapidated classrooms, acute shortage of instructional materials and textbooks, insufficient classrooms and furniture for both students and their teachers, lack of regular training for teachers, poor commitment by teachers due to lack of incentives and motivation resulting in poor teaching habits, collapse of supervision and monitoring, poor governance structures in the schools resulting in indiscipline and outright gangsterism, insufficient funding and poor remuneration of the workforce”, Amosun said.
  According to the governor: “Our approach to these myriad of problems was multi-dimensional. Our position was that no Ogun State child must be denied access to qualitative education for whatever reason, and this stand is not negotiable. We believe our children must be adequately prepared for their future roles as leaders of the society.
  “Three years, four months down the line, I am pleased to inform this gathering that we have tackled these challenges head-on. The first step we took was to provide, sustain and safeguard unbridled access and equity in education through the introduction of free, qualitative and compulsory primary and secondary education.”
   “We organised massive enlightenment programmes (even in local dialects) at all levels to ensure the willingness and eagerness of parents to release and take interest in the educational development of their children. A state task force was established to comb the nooks and crannies of the state on regular basis to pick up children loitering or hawking items during school hours. Such children and their parents/guardians were counselled in the first instance while subsequent deviance attracted appropriate sanctions.” 
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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