The University of Abuja was established on January 1st 1988 ( under Decree No. 110 of 1992 as amended) as a dual University with the mandate to run both convectional and distance learning programmes. It was the first university in the country to assume such dual mandate.
Mission and Philosophy
With a mandate to combine the convectional system with a distance learning programme, the University of Abuja was set up, not only to provide instructional, research and public service programmes appropriate to a University of high standing, but to operate a strong and virile distance learning component. The University is therefore committed to and seeks academic excellence while at the same time ensuring equal educational access to a diverse constituency. Located in the capital city of Nigeria, the University directs its activities towards the needs of students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and prepares them for productive roles in society.
There are over forty universities in Nigeria but existing facilities can accommodate only about one quarter of the qualified candidates seeking admission. In line with the National Policy on education therefore, the University has adopted a philosophy that would allow thousands of people decide on their mode of study for a degree, either on a full-time or part-time basis. Not less than fifteen thousand students are now enrolled under the auspices of the Distance Learning and Continuing Education component of the university. In summary, the mission of the university of Abuja is to provide educational access and opportunity designed to enhance the intellectual , social and economic quality of life within Abuja City, the nation as a whole and the world at large.
The establishment of the University of Abuja followed the recognition by the Federal Government that the new Federal Capital Territory requires an institution of higher learning that will cater for the educational needs of the inhabitants of the territory in particular and the nation in general.
As the city of Abuja, and indeed Nigeria evolve in population, economy and social structure, so will the University of Abuja. Its presence is of significant value in providing diversity to the system of higher education supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The University of Abuja, being located in the new capital of Nigeria, has the responsibility of providing not only the regular University education but part-time off-campus courses of study. This is going to attain greater significance as the city of Abuja and Nigeria grow in population since the existing formal educational institution may never be able to provide adequate facilities for the admission of applicants whose number increase from year to year.
In order to fulfill the mission of the University, the objectives of the University of Abuja have been clearly spelt out in Section 1(3) of its enabling Decree 106 as amended as 110 in 1992. Specifically the objectives as follows to:
- Encourage the advancement of learning and to hold out to all persons without distinction of race , creed, sex or political conviction, the opportunity of acquiring a higher liberal education;
- Provide courses of instruction and other facilities for the pursuit of learning in all its branches, and to make those facilities available on proper terms to such persons as equipped to benefit from them.
- Encourage and promote scholarship and conduct research in all fields of learning and human endeavour.
- Relate its activities to the social cultural economic scientific and technology needs of the people of Nigeria and to provide innovative educational programme of high standard, regardless of the nature of the degree being pursued as long as this has importance for national development.
- Undertake as part of its academic programmes, distance learning and part-time courses in various disciplines to cater for the interest of the working class or those who cannot benefit directly from full-time University education
- Encourage studies and researches that will improve the standard of living of the host communities in particular and Nigerians in general
- Provide education for self-reliance
- Undertake any other activities appropriate for a University of highest standard.
In accordance with its Motto which is “ For Unity and Scholarship” , this philosophy of the University translates to providing “practical and innovative Education for service to Humanity”. In pursuance of this broad objective, the University programmes, courses structure and research activities are geared towards relevant training of students and staff for imaginative , innovative and creative performance in the different fields of human endeavour they may be engaged.
The University still operates temporarily at the Mini-campus at Gwagwalada where in 1990 academic activities started. The Mini-campus took off from three uncompleted blocks of buildings meant for a primary school but has since expanded far beyond the confines of the initial site and now covers an area of 33 hectares, 25 hectares of it fully developed. The University has however secured an expanse of land covering about 11,824 hectares for its permanent site along the Kaduna-Lokoja-Abuja road where physical development has since commenced.