The Delta State Government on Wednesday said its decision to upgrade three tertiary institutions to universities was to eliminate wasteful expenditure and expand admission spaces for Deltans seeking university education.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had on Tuesday sent a bill to the State House of Assembly to approve the upgrade of the institutions.
The bill seeks the upgrade of the College of Education, Agbor to Delta State University of Education, Agbor; Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro to Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro and Delta State University, Anwai Campus, to Delta State University of Science and Agriculture, Anwai-Asaba.
The Commissioner for Higher Education, Patrick Muoboghare, told journalists at a news conference in Asaba that the state government was spending N458 million on 1,895 staff for 2,888 National Certificate of Education (NCE) students in the state’s three Colleges of Education.
Mr Muoboghare, a professor, stated students had since lost interest in NCE programmes which accounted for their low number in the colleges.
On admission space into Delta State University, Abraka, Mr Muoboghare said with about five hundred public secondary schools and more than five hundred private secondary schools in the state, turning out SS3 graduates every year, the number of students in the state seeking university admissions every year was high.
According to him, keeping brilliant children on the waiting list for university admission for too long is a recipe for crime.
“For the 2019/2020 admission, 25,896 candidates chose Delta State University, Abraka, as first-choice. Out of this number, 22,358 qualified, applied for and wrote the post-UTME examination.
“Only 4,854 could find space after the admissions, leaving the remaining 21,042 candidates stranded and almost hopeless.
“We need to provide for these qualified and ambitious children and this we are doing through the establishment of new universities by upgrading three existing tertiary institutions,” Muoboghare explained.
He said the state government intended to commence academic activities in the new schools in the 2021/2022 academic session once the State Assembly passed the bill establishing them.
On his part, the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said the motive for the new universities was to place them to become comparatively competitive and to meet the admission needs of Deltans which was on the increase on yearly basis.
He commended the three arms of government in the state for their cooperation in the development of the state.