1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is viable tool for the growth and development of an
economy; it is the right of everyone to have education. Higher education
drives national development. There are higher chances of people with
higher education to gain employment compared to those who have not.
Education in Nigeria has suffered a lot of challenges resulting from the
students, lecturers (teachers) and the government. Its greatest
challenge is inadequate funding of the educational system of Nigeria.
Oni (1978) drives this point home further when he stated that education
is one of the basic means of human and cultural self-realization as well
as a means of realizing the productive power of a nation. According to
him, development is determined through the standard of living of the
people. Culture varies from society to society; therefore each society
has its way of training and educating its populace. For instance, the
Greek define an educated person to be one who is mentally and physically
sound. The Romans laid emphasis on training.
In spite of global re-awakening however, higher education in
Sub-Saharan Africa still leaves much to be desired. Confusion,
commotion, turmoil, disorder, unrest, instability; in short turbulence,
does aptly describe the situation. Challenges are all pervasive, from
enrolment and access, to quality, to relevance, to the even more
fundamental issues of funding and inadequacy of learning infrastructure
and staff shortages for teaching and research.
In West Africa in particular, more serious effort backed by strong
political will is required for wide ranging reforms to reposition higher
education and make it play its appropriate role in the transformation
of our national economies.
To a considerable extent, policy flip-flop has been responsible for
the turbulence in our tertiary education sector. From the immediate
post-independence zeal by emergent post-colonial regimes in the 1960’s
to invest in tertiary education to provide manpower requirements of
“national development”, we saw from the mid-1980’s to the late 1990’s
almost a complete reversal and de-prioritization; driven by the World
Bank’s argument that Africa did not need tertiary education and its
emphasis on “rolling back the state” under the structural adjustment
programmes. Under SAPs, our tertiary institutions in general, and
universities in particular were thrown into turmoil; characterized by
gross under funding, erosion of university autonomy, constricted access,
declining quality, brain-drain and perpetual instability fueled by
incessant staff strikes.
Since the mid-2000, we seem to have come full circle, with the World
Bank’s commissioned reports urging that higher education needs to be
given priority to enhance Africa’s “technological catch-up” (Bloom,
Canning, and Chan 2006). With the mantra of increasing access, the doors
have been thrown wide open for the role of private sector in tertiary
education provisioning, and to distance learning and
internationalization. The field of higher education is now de-regulated
and is literally crowded with all sorts of providers: the good, the bad
and the ugly. Given prevailing systemic and
Institutional weaknesses and the absence of demonstrable political
will for effective regulatory frameworks in most of our countries, the
crowded terrain of higher education provisioning has thrown up its own
Presently, University system in Africa in general, and in West Africa
in particular, is yet to recover from the crisis, which has engulfed it
since the late 1980’s. Colonial education policies laid the foundation
for crisis in the system; but post-colonial state policies, prodded by
the World Bank, catalyzed, perpetrated and perpetuated the crisis.
Meanwhile, the World Bank continues to do too little too late. The
challenges of recovery from this crisis are enormous; but they have to
be confronted and overcome to enable Africa not only make giant strides
in “technological catch-up”, but especially to expand opportunities for
economic growth and strengthen the foundation for sustainable
This study aims at examining university education in Nigeria: growth, problems and prospects.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The growth of university education in Nigeria is hampered by a lot of factors ranging from
- lack of funds,
- dilapidated structures,
- inadequate teaching and learning facilities,
- incessant strikes,
- poor implementation of education policies,
- lack of research and training of staff (Tettey 2010),
- exam malpractice
These are some of the problems militating against the growth of university education in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major objective of this study is to examine University education in Nigeria: growth, problems and prospect.
Other specific objectives include:
a) To determine the relationship between growth of university education and national development.
b) To examine ways of improving university education in Nigeria.
c) To investigate the constraints of university education in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are generated to guide this study:
a) What is the relationship between growth of university education and national development?
b) What are the ways of improving university education in Nigeria?
c) What are the constraints of university education in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no relationship between the growth of university education and national development.
H1: There is a relationship between the growth of university education and national development.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study aims at informing, educating and sensitizing the general
public, school administrators and government on university education in
Nigeria: growth, problems and prospects.
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend
to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to
build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could
serve as a guide for other work or study.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to University education in Nigeria: growth, problems and prospects.
Limitations of study
- 1. Financial constraint-
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in
sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in
the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
- 2. Time constraint- The
researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic
work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
UNIVERSITY EDUCATION: Higher (or tertiary) education and research which grants academic degrees in various subjects. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education.
GROWTH: This refers to a positive change in size, and/or maturation, often over a period of time
PROBLEM: Is a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.
PROSPECT: This is the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring.
Oni, A. R. (1978). The Role of Business Education in a Developing Economy. Business Education Journal 1(3).
Bloom, D., D. Canning and K. Chan, “Higher Education and Economic Development in Africa”, 2006.
Tettey, W., Challenges of developing and retaining the next
generation of academics: deficits in academic staff capacity at
African Universities. Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, 2010.