THE Federal Government revealed that the actual carrying capacity of Nigerian universities is 350, 000 against the purported 500,000 made known to the public.

It also disclosed that about 1,150,000 candidates who sit for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) annually are unable to secure admission because of this low capacity.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, made this revelation during the inauguration of governing councils and boards of eight parastatals under the education ministry.

The supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, who inaugurated the councils and boards, admonished members to see their appointment as a call to national duty in the collective drive to salvaging the education sector.

The permanent secretary noted that Nigeria’s education sector is in a critical state because of “long years of neglect and bastardisation.”

He also lamented the decline in the quality of education in the country, saying most of the graduates of universities are unemployable.

According to him, “of the world’s 61 million school age children out of school, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 31 million, and Nigeria accounts for the largest number with about 10.5 million.”

He explained that what this meant was that one out of every three primary school age child is out of school and roughly one out of four junior secondary school age children is out of school.

Nwaobiala said the situation was even worse when considering the issue of admissions and carrying capacity of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

He said: “We are aware that on paper, the carrying capacity of our universities is 500, 000 though in reality it is 350, 000. The number of applicants every year to these universities is at least 1.5 million.

“This leaves out about 1,150,000 who cannot get into our universities yearly,” he said.

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