Why private colleges create more top-notch graduates every year in Nigeria

13 Jan 2023

In recent years, the number of first-class graduates produced at the convocation ceremony of one of the top private institutions in the nation has lagged behind the public's emotions. It has happened before. The 12.28 percent first class that was reported by that private university has been characterized as "cheap grades" by a number of stakeholders who are unfamiliar with the operations of private universities.

With the following proven facts about private higher education schools, this article aims to dispel the misconceptions of "doubting Thomases" who believe otherwise.
Private colleges are not inexpensive. They have their own price tags and offer value for the money that parents spend. As some of our esteemed professors and other academics are now enrolling their children in private universities after doing comparative studies, parents and guardians are paying for quality education at private universities, which is actually dying out in public institutions.

In most private universities, the lecturer-to-student ratio for courses in law, the arts, administration, management, and social science is less than 1:30. In contrast to public universities, where the ratios are substantially greater, the lecturer-student ratio for the sciences is between 1:10 and 1:15. Consider a scenario where a lecturer at a public institution must manage 850 or more pupils as opposed to their peers at a private university who just have to deal with classes of 50 or less. The latter will do the teaching, mentoring, assessment, marking, and grading tasks more skillfully. Too many students have been a strain on the former. Such a lecturer frequently assigns less qualified individuals to grade and mark the exam scripts for the pupils.

In private universities, students have access to 24-hour internet services for their research, assignments and other academic activities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, private universities were online teaching their students because they had adequate facilities to take care of their students. Some of them also went further to conduct their matriculation and convocation ceremony online as required internationally. Conversely, public universities were incapacitated and stagnant, giving their students excuses for lack of performance.

There are no strikes at private universities. Never! Because of this, their academic cycle is precise and unbroken. Therefore, a committed student who applied for a 5-year course would complete it in exactly five sessions, which would be a record. This is not the case in our public universities, where a student who entered for a 4-year course would end up taking seven to eight years to complete because of the extended strikes of the Academic Staff Union of Universities. Where students' educational mindset has been harmed by years of unresolved strikes, how can we expect many first-class graduates?

Private universities encourage their lecturers to be friendly with their pupils. Compared to many public university instructors who have sadistic tendencies to always deflate their pupils, many of them are very engaging in their lectures and have emotional intelligence in their mentorship. Professors that make statements such, "Nobody scores A in my course, only highly clever students can score B" are commonly heard in public colleges. Any lecturer found in a private university committing this act of haughty brutality is shown the door. When the necessity arises, students in private colleges can send their assignments to their professors via emails and other internet means. They can consult with their professors about their assignments and accept any changes at scheduled.

It is important to emphasize that private colleges make significant investments in the most recent publications for their pupils. Their departmental libraries and the main university libraries both have the newest books. People who are interested may be surprised to learn that, in contrast to most public university lecturers, most private university students are trained with modern and current books/facilities in their e-library resources, where annual subscription payments for Proquest, LexisNexis, Law Pavilion, Research4Life, which includes Hinari, Agora, ARDI, OARE, Goalie and several others, are made in the millions of naira. It has been proven that some instructors at public universities have been using the same course materials for years.
Students at private universities have access to department heads, deans, and even vice chancellors, who grant them an appointment when they have grievances or obstacles and address those issues appropriately. In fact, the majority of these exchanges between management and students are viewed as feedback for the services provided by private universities. In private universities, most students reside on campus. They therefore have comfortable residences where they can unwind after lectures. Additionally, they have abundant access to water and uninterruptible WiFi in their apartments, which makes their lives easier. It is clear that these are not offered in Nigeria's public universities.

In private universities, professors are urged to review all they have covered over the semester before exams. Due to their haughtiness and assumption that students should not be catered to, the majority of teachers at public universities refuse to revise.

There is quality control at private universities. The Academic Planning Department keeps close eye on all lecturers' delivery style, length, and caliber of lectures. Therefore, absenteeism from class is not acceptable. The vice chancellor or the registry can discipline lecturers for missing class. Because certain professors at public colleges are "larger" than the vice chancellor, lecturers who miss courses are not penalized. Some students even attend classes a few times during the course of the semester.

Several members of the National Universities Commission accrediting teams have admitted that some private universities have physical amenities that are either unavailable or inactive at public universities.

The current rate of first-class graduates from private colleges is a result of significant investments, quality assurance, and adequate management of both human and material resources by private university administrators. Anyone with questions about these facts can double-check them with reputable private universities.

Punchng, 'Why private universities produce more first-class graduates' (online, 2023) <https://punchng.com/why-private-universities-produce-more-first-class-graduates/>.

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