Some private universities in the North West say the prolonged strike by the Universities Academic Staff Union has led to an increase in their admissions.
The institutions, based in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina states, said that while the ASUU strike was not something to celebrate due to its negative impact on the education sector, they were reaping the rewards. .
In Kano, sources from five private universities who spoke to reporters said the more than six-month strike had led to an increase in their enrollment numbers.
Kano State has about five private universities namely Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria, Skyline University, Kano, Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Capital City and Baba Ahmed University.
MAAUN’s Head of Corporate Communications Unit, Alhaji Tukur Masanaw said the institution started the academic session in 2021/2022.
He said about 1,000 students were enrolled, which was the university with the highest number of students in the country.
“Of the 111 private universities in Nigeria, it is the only university that started with the highest number of enrollments in the country,” he said.
For his part, the owner of Al-Istiqama University of Sumaila, Alhaji Abdurrahman Sumaila, said that the ASUU strike had increased the number of enrolments.
“Al-Istiqama University is seeing an increase in enrollment this time around, thanks to the ongoing ASUU nationwide strike.
“While this may not be the only factor that has led to the recent development, it has, however, contributed immensely.
“As I speak to you, we have between 400 and 500 applicants for various courses on our website awaiting approval, and that is before admission begins for the next academic year.
“That’s to tell you that when admission starts the numbers will surely go up,” he said.
Kawu-Sumaila added that dozens of students from various public universities have also been joining Al-Istiqama University in transfer since the start of the ASUU strike.
Also, Registrar of Skyline University Kano, Mr. Haruna Aliyu, said the institution admitted 170 first-level students as of August 2022.
He said admission was still ongoing, adding that the school had taken in more students this year, compared to 2021.
“In 2021, 162 students were enrolled at Skyline University, but this year we were able to enroll 170 students.
“Most of the students were transferred to the Kano campus from outside the country because they could not continue studying abroad due to the increase in the dollar exchange rate.
“Transfer students have to study at Skyline for a good two years before they graduate.
“This year, we also received around 36 transfers from neighboring universities, including Bayero University, Kano and Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, among others,” he said.
According to him, the school offers 18 courses in three faculties namely, School of Information Science and Technology, School of Arts and Management Studies and Medical Sciences.
Aliyu further explained that in the 2022 Joint Admission and Matriculations Board examination, 257 students chose Skyline as their first choice while 165 chose the institution as their second choice.
On her part, the public relations officer of the University of the capital, Ms. Walida Bello, said that due to the ASUU strike, parents had come to inquire about enrolling their children in the university.
“So far, 22 people have come to collect admission forms, eight of whom have completed and returned the forms.
Also, the Dean, Student Affairs/Admissions Officer of Baba Ahmed University, Kano, Dr. Suleiman Kofar-Naisa said that student registration is ongoing at the school.
“Some have brought their credentials for screening to check if they are qualified for admission, while others who choose Baba Ahmed as a second choice are asked to buy a green card and do some school their first choice to enable them to gain admission,” he said.
Meanwhile, Greenfield University, the first private university in Kaduna state, said if it weren’t for the security concerns, the institution would have also seen an increase in enrollment, thanks to the ASUU strike.
The dean of the faculty of science and technology at the university, Dr Valantine Nwakacha, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the unstable security situation in the state discouraged prospective students who wished to apply to study at the university.
Nwakacha, the university’s former director of academic planning, said Greenfield University began academic activities in the 2018/2019 academic session, with 13 students.
He said that while the persistent ASUU strike provided an opportunity for student enrollment to swell, insecurity seized on such an opportunity.
The official, who said the total enrollment currently stands at around 85, pointed out that the number would have been higher due to the facilities provided, as well as the standard and quality academic programs offered by the institution.
“Just when many students were starting to show interest in the university, bandits invaded the university in April 2021 and kidnapped some of our students.
“As a result, some students left the university due to insecurity, while others were killed; this unfortunate incident caused potential candidates to change their minds, for security reasons.
“This development compelled us to relocate the university, formerly located at KM 33 along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, to Kudenda in the Chikun local government area of the state,” he said.
Nwakacha said the 2022/2023 academic session would start in two to three weeks, adding that so far around 50 students were seeking admission.
In Katsina, Al-Qalam University’s public affairs and communications officer, Alhaji Akilu Abubakar, said it would only appear in their next admission if there was an increase in student enrollment.
Abubakar explained that in February 2022, the university had already started registration for the session, saying that was the period when ASUU members started their strike.
Abubakar further said that the Al-Qalam students have completed their first semester, taken a break and have now returned for their second semester.
He added that the University may not have enrollment statistics until January 2023 when the admission list for the 2022/2023 academic session would have been released.
“I received a series of calls from people, especially parents, who said they were losing faith in public universities due to the persistent ASUU strike.
“They asked when Alqualam will start the next admission because they plan to send their children back to the institution,” he said.