‘Why foreign varsities are not opening campuses in Nigeria’
CHIEFTAINS of some foreign universities have urged the Federal Government to put in place clear-cut regulations/policies that would guide foreign institutions seeking to establish their campuses in Nigeria.
Dean, George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, Webster University, Prof Benjamin Ola Akande, who was recently in Lagos to scout for prospective students to join Webster University, Ghana Campus, said the absence of a clear-cut policy, discourages foreign institutions from setting up campuses in the country.
Though, Nigeria according to him is the largest and most viable education market in Africa because of its population base, (which is very significant), he said Webster University could not establish a campus in the country due to the absence of a well-defined criteria.
He said, “The reason we don’t have Webster University and other foreign universities establishing campuses in Nigeria is because the process of establishing in Nigeria is like a steep hill to climb. They (Nigerian authorities) don’t make it easy for established United States organisations to come to this country. May be it is the established universities that are saying we don’t need competition.
If our economy is going to be bigger, if Nigeria is going to be relevant, we have to allow other institutions to come in and help in sharing knowledge because what we bring to Nigeria is intellectual property, over a hundred years of experience in education.
“There should be established regulations that welcome institutions of higher learning from around the world that meet defined criteria, and are accredited in the places they are coming from, and who offer programmes that are needed programmes in Nigeria.
He continued, “If they put in place those regulations, we would definitely meet them. But the reality now is that there are no real criteria for establishing campuses of foreign universities in this country…and that is why they are all going to Ghana. If you go to Ghana, you will see a landscape of British and American schools. They are there, but not in Nigeria, and that speaks volumes.”
Akande who is presently the president of Westminster College, Missouri, US, added, “When we made the decision to go to Ghana, it was a little bit more convoluted. But we went to Ghana because its government was receptive. I am hopeful that the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will look into this because there could be so many other institutions that would want to come to Nigeria.”
Relatedly, Chairman of Banquaires-SMS Consultants, a consulting firm for Amity University, India, Dr. Felix Adeduro, who spoke in the same vein said several attempts have been made to establish a campus of Amity University, but poor policy framework and unhealthy business environment have continued to frustrate the idea.
He said the school, which is one of the world’s fastest growing universities that offers global standard industry-based education is ranked as the number one private university in northern India, and its existence in Nigeria would boost the country’s education profile.
He said, “A lot of people have made attempts, several proposals have also been made, and even a former Nigerian envoy to India also attempted, but the idea could not come to reality. Amity cannot come to Nigeria because of poor policies and lack of enabling environment.
“Again, for Amity to operate in Nigeria, it has to run on a not-for-profit basis. But after they looked at the infrastructural deficit and power challenges, they came to the conclusion that if they are in Nigeria, they won’t be able to run on a not-for-profit basis because their overhead cost in Nigeria will be too heavy for them to operate and sustain their operations. That means they would have to charge fees that will be higher than their cost. These are some of the issues that hindered the project.
“If Amity University has to operate in Nigeria, it will run on power generating plant 24/7; battle with regulatory authorities coupled with other infrastructural challenges. But in India, that challenge is not there.”