The Delta government says three new varsities are set to begin the 2021/2022 session in the state.

Patrick Muoboghare, its commissioner for higher education, revealed the news to journalists on Wednesday in Asaba.

He said exigencies of the times made the government transform three existing higher institutions to universities.

Patrick stated that this had created an urgent need to upgrade one of the colleges to the university of education. He also said it followed the poor attraction of students to colleges of education in spite of government expenditures.

This was after an executive bill was transmitted to the house of assembly to upgrade the College of Education, Agbor, to a varsity.

“Federal Government, by a deliberate policy, has gradually phased out the HND diplomas,’’ the commissioner said.

“Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, to become a University of Science and Technology, while Delta State University, Anwai Campus, Asaba, to be upgraded to a University of Science and Agriculture.

“We are hoping that for the 2021/2022 academic session, we shall take off the new universities and gradually phase out programmes that are in the existing institutions.

“It will make for efficient, effective and qualitative delivery of service and funds management. In 2019/2020 academic session, over 25,000 candidates took Delta State University, Abraka, as the first choice.

“Out of this number, over 22,000 candidates qualified and applied for and wrote the post UTME examination, but only 4,854 could find space, leaving the remaining 21,042 candidates stranded and almost hopeless.

“These are the ones, who, in an attempt to avoid staying idle at home, find themselves in various expensive sub-degree programmes in the universities, polytechnics and college of education.

“So, we need to provide for qualified and ambitious children and this we are doing through the establishment of new universities, by upgrading three existing tertiary institutions to full-fledged universities.”

The commissioner also expressed concerns that a greater number of private secondary schools, alongside over 500 public ones, turn out graduates annually and raise the number of admission seekers in what he said was a recipe for crime.

On funding, he said the state policy is being aimed at making the institutions gradually become self-sustaining.

“The government currently funds the monthly wage bills of N457.5 million for three states colleges of education; Agbor, Mosogar and Warri with a total staff strength of 1,895 and student population of only 2,888,” Patrick added.

“The Federal Government is phasing out HND programmes, meaning that the three polytechnics and the School of Marine Technology, Burutu, would be left with the production of only graduates of ND programmes.

“We decided that one of the polytechnics be upgraded to university to absorb those who will graduate from the Polytechnics since HND is gradually being phased out.

“We have three Colleges of Education established for the NCE programme, as at then, each of the institutions can boost of 5,000 students.

“Our children are no longer interested in NCE programmes, so, we decided to upgrade one of the colleges of education to university to absorb those from the other two NCE awarding institutions.”