Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo on Wednesday inaugurated an implementation committee to midwife the speedy commencement of six new universities in the state.
Okorocha charged the committee, headed by Prof. Chima Iwuchukwu, to pursue the collection of the letters of recognition from the National Universities Commission for the universities as soon as possible.
The universities include the University of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Abor Mbaise and Ngor Okpala; University of Technology, Onuimo; Universiry of Creative Technology, Nkwerre; University of Medical Sciences, Ogboko; Marine University, Oguta and College of Health Technology.
The governor expressed the hope that the universities would restore the “glory of the state as the first in the educational industry in the country.”
He said that the universities would be jointly owned by the state government, organisations and entities partnering with it under the Public Private Partnership agreement.
He further said that the state government would provide the infrastructure, while the partners would provide funding for the running of the universities.
He said that the Imo State University, Owerri would continue to be tuition free.
The governor, however, said that the new universities would be run by partnering organisation which, according to him, will be allowed to charge tuition fees.
He also said that four new polytechnics have been established in the state to support the universities in providing tertiary education in the state.
The polytechnics are Mbonu Ojike Polytechnic, Arondizuogu, Ahiara Polytechnic, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ehime Polytechnic, Ehime Mbano and Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Orlu.
Okorocha lauded the state House of Assembly for providing the legislative backing for the establishment of the institutions.
He said that modalities had been put in place for the sustenance of the current tuition-free education in the state after his exit.