American University of Nigeria
Three young women are seen at the American University of Nigeria in the Adamawa state capital, Yola, May 8, 2015. Nigeria is one of several African nations that lacks the infrastructure, equipment, material and teachers necessary to improve its education system. EMMANUEL AREWA/AFP/Getty Images

Eleven new private universities in Nigeria were deemed substandard and denied full operational licenses Thursday. Wesley University of Science and Technology, Landmark University, Rhema University, Samuel Adegboyega University, Paul University, Oduduwa University, Tansian University, Baze University, Obong University, Achievers University and Wellspring University failed to achieve national commission standards for academics, development and infrastructure within the first three years of operation, according to Nigerian newspaper Premium Times.

The 11 institutions were issued provisional licenses by Nigeria’s National Universities Commission and were given two years to get their full operational licenses, but failed to get them within three. The executive secretary of the commission, Julius Okojio, said the commission issues provisional licenses to new private universities to create room for effective mentoring, growth and to ensure they meet set standards within the first three years of operation.

“That was also part of NUC’s initiative for early warning signals to detect compromises in quality for the application of corrective and remedial measures to redress such situations,” Okojio told Premium Times Thursday. “If we don’t monitor them now they will have problems. So they will slow down on programs; (we) look at their staff strength and look at their programs.”

Okojio did not say whether the universities would suffer any punitive measure for failing to meet standards and get their full operational licenses within the set timeframe. Nine other universities, however, did meet the standards and received full operational licenses Thursday.

University of Port Harcourt graduates in Nigeria
Graduate students listened to then-Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's (unseen) speech during his visit at his alma mater in the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria's Rivers State, May 15, 2010. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria’s overall lack of infrastructure, equipment, material and teachers as well as its inability to ensure reliable power supply nationwide has prevented the West African country from improving its education system. About two-thirds of people in Nigeria don’t have access to grid electricity, which means online resources and working computers are out of reach for scores of students.

There are roughly 1.2 million students enrolled in Nigeria's tertiary system alone, which means the government is hard-pressed to meet the demands for more institutions and better quality education. These factors have triggered a surge in academic mobility out of the country, for those who can afford to send their children overseas, according to a report by World Education News and Reviews in New York.

Nigeria is one of several African nations that have suffered from brain drain or human capital flight. Enrollment rates for higher education in sub-Saharan Africa were by far the lowest in the world, and individuals who study abroad often never return, a Harvard University study found. An estimated 30 percent of the region’s university-trained professionals live outside Africa, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.