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This paper is an exploratory study that focuses on the problems facing higher education in Nigeria and the emergence of private universities. The Nigerian educational system is today bedeviled by series of challenges such as issues of inadequate funding, inconsistent policies and lack of continuity of programmes which are more pronounced in Public Universities (both Federal and State owned). Other issues include infrastructural decay and the disruption of the higher education system and academic calendars due to strikes and riots. Insufficient budgetary allocation, obsolete equipment, old and outdated curricula and text books, lack of research grants, poor remuneration and general welfare for lecturers including the heightened level of brain drain. The current discourse on this issue is in line with the incessant complaints by employers of labour that most Nigerian graduates are half baked needing a lot of training in the world of work. Private universities such as Covenant University emerged to salvage the situation bearing in mind the fact that education remains the engine that drives the growth and development of a nation. The emphasis here is on the emergence of private universities in Nigeria, how well they have fared, current challenges and prospects for future development.
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International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 3 No. 2 February 2015
49
Higher Education in Nigeria and the Emergence of Private Universities
BY
Iruonagbe, C.T. Ph.D, Imhonopi, D. Ph.D & Egharevba, M.E. Ph.D
Department of Sociology,
Covenant University, Ota
Ogun State, Nigeria
Email: tunde.iruonagbe@covenantuniversity.edu.ng
david.imhonopi@covenantuniversity.edu.ng
matthew.egharevba@covenantuniversity.edu.ng
ABSTRACT
This paper is an exploratory study that focuses on the problems facing higher education in Nigeria
and the emergence of private universities. The Nigerian educational system is today bedeviled by
series of challenges such as issues of inadequate funding, inconsistent policies and lack of
continuity of programmes which are more pronounced in Public Universities (both Federal and
State owned). Other issues include infrastructural decay and the disruption of the higher education
system and academic calendars due to strikes and riots. Insufficient budgetary allocation, obsolete
equipment, old and outdated curricula and text books, lack of research grants, poor remuneration
and general welfare for lecturers including the heightened level of brain drain. The current discourse
on this issue is in line with the incessant complaints by employers of labour that most Nigerian
graduates are half baked needing a lot of training in the world of work. Private universities such as
Covenant University emerged to salvage the situation bearing in mind the fact that education
remains the engine that drives the growth and development of a nation. The emphasis here is on the
emergence of private universities in Nigeria, how well they have fared, current challenges and
prospects for future development.
Keywords: Development; Higher education; Nigeria; Private Universities; Public Universities.
Historical Development of University Education in Nigeria
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. Before the 18th century, there was little or no
difference between Europe and Africa, but the slave trade coupled with the industrial revolution in
Europe changed the socio-economic equation. Africa became the trading subordinate of Europe and
later its colony. A review of the Nigerian educational system from 1842 to 1959 revealed that there
was absolutely nothing in the Nigerian educational system that promoted “national consciousness”,
“national unity”, “patriotism” or the like (Fafunwa, 2003). Infact, the colonial government never
pretended to build a Nigerian nation. The citizens were either British subjects or British protected
persons whose loyalty was supposed to be for the British Empire and the King or Queen of
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England. The consequent effect of this was that instead of training the people in the area of
technology, majority of the citizens were educated in the area of civics as they were meant to assist
the British colonizers in some administrative duties (Fafunwa, 2003)
The first higher educational institution in Nigeria, the Yaba Higher College, was established in
1932. The agitation of Nigerians for a more comprehensive higher education provision led to the
constitution of the Asquith and Elliot Commission on Higher Education. Their reports in 1943
favoured the establishment of universities in Nigeria. Consequently, in 1948, the University College
Ibadan was founded as an affiliate of the University of London. The University College continued
as the only university institution in Nigeria until 1960 (Jubril, 2003).
In April 1959, the Nigerian government commissioned an inquiry (Ashby Commission) to advise it
on the higher education needs of the new nation for its first two decades of independence. Before
the submission of the report on 2nd September 1960, the Eastern Region government established its
own university at Nsukka, the University of Nigeria Nsukka, 1960. The recommendations of the
Ashby report include:
i. the Federal Government should give support to the development of new universities in Nigeria;
ii. a university should be established in the North using the old site of the Nigerian College in Zaria
as its base;
iii. a university should be established in Lagos to handle courses in business, commerce and
economics;
iv. University College Ibadan should widen its curriculum and develop into a full university;
v. a National Universities Commission should be set up to have undisputed control over the affairs
of the universities, particularly in terms of finance, staff and courses.
So, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was founded in 1960 while the Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile-Ife (formerly, the University of Ife) was established in 1961. Ahmadu Bello
University Zaria and University of Lagos were both established in 1962 while the University
College transformed into a substantive university also in 1962. In 1970, the newly created Bendel
State established a university, known as University of Benin. Consequently, the six universities
established during this period 1960-1970 became known as first generation federal universities.
Also, between 1975 and 1977, seven new universities were established which was to reflect the then
19 state structure. These second generation universities as they were referred to include the
University of Calabar (1975); the University of Ilorin (1976); the University of Jos (1975); the
University of Sokoto (1977); the University of Port Harcourt (1977); and Bayero University, Kano
(1977). These universities became federal universities by virtue of Decree 46 of 1977 which
provided for Federal Government take-over of all universities in Nigeria (Jubril, 2003). The 1979
constitution transferred university education from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list
which meant that state governments were free to establish state-owned universities if they so
desired. Based on this, a number of universities were established between 1979 and 1983. They
include, Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University) Ekpoma; Anambra State
University of Technology, Enugu; Imo State University, Owerri; Ogun State University, Ago-
International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 3 No. 2 February 2015
51
Iwoye; Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti; Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port
Harcourt; Cross River State University, Uyo and Lagos State University, Ijanikin.
Nigeria currently operates the 9-3-4 system of education which is part of the Universal Basic
Education, UBE, which came as a replacement for Nigeria’s Universal Primary Education Scheme
of the 6-3-3-4 system of education. Students spend six years in secondary school that is 3years of
JSS (Junior Secondary School) and 3years of SSS (Senior Secondary School). First-year entry
requirements into most universities in Nigeria include: Minimum of SSCE/GCE Ordinary Level
Credits at maximum of two sittings; Minimum cut-off marks in Joint Admission and Matriculation
Board Entrance Examination (JAMB) of 200 and above out of a maximum of 400 marks are
required. Candidates with minimum of Merit Pass in National Certificate of Education (NCE),
National Diploma (ND) and other Advanced Level Certificates with minimum of 5 O/L Credits are
given direct entry admission into the appropriate undergraduate degree programs. Higher
educational Institutions in Nigeria include Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
There are currently 129 approved universities in Nigeria comprising 40 Federal Universities, 39
State Universities and 50 Private Universities (NUC, 2014). Also, Nigeria has a total 128 approved
polytechnics and 117 approved Colleges of Education in Nigeria, making it the largest higher
education system on the African Continent (Adesulu, 2013).
Although Public Universities have dominated the higher education landscape in Nigeria for several
decades, their failure to cope with admission pressure became more compelling from the 1990s. In
1990 about 250,000 candidates applied for admission and less than 50,000 constituting (20%) of the
candidates were admitted. In 1992, close to 300,000 applied for admission and about 50,000
amounting to 17% got admitted while in 1994, out of the 400,000 that applied for admission, less
than 50,000 totaling 13% got admitted into different universities in Nigeria (Obasi & Eboh, 2001).
Moja (2000), affirmed that “Access to higher education and the lack of the capacity of the system to
absorb the numbers of students seeking admission to higher education institutions continues to pose
a serious problem. For example, it is estimated that out of 400,000 JAMB candidates seeking
admission to university education, more than 320,000, which is about 80% are not able to gain
admission to any of the 37 Nigerian universities”. Also, Onyekakeyah (2005), stated that, “The
Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) figures clearly show that the situation has not
improved. According to JAMB figures, out of about 800,000 candidates that sat for the 2005
examination, only 147,000 were offered places in the existing universities, representing only 18.4
percent”.
Another major problem facing higher education especially Federal and State Institutions is funding.
Enrolments have increased more quickly than government’s capacity to finance these institutions.
This has hampered education delivery, monitoring, inspection and other quality assurance activities.
Government has made efforts at addressing this problem; for example, in 1993, the Education Tax
Decree was enacted to provide 2% of the profits of companies registered in Nigeria to be collected
by government and paid into a fund called the Education Tax Fund (ETF) now (Education Trust
Fund). Despite increase in funding from over 11 billion naira in 1999 to over 90 billion naira in
2008, funding still remains a major challenge (Dawodu, 2010).
This was the trend in Nigeria such that the admission crisis became more critical after 2001. The
access rate had fallen by 2002 to less than 13 percent (Okebukola 2002). Based on this fact, the
expansion of access through the establishment of Private Universities became one of the most
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reasonable policy options (Obasi, 2005). According to Aluede et al (2012), of the number of
candidates applying for admission every year in Nigeria, only about 5.2 percent to 15.3 percent get
admitted every year, meaning that about 84.7 percent to 94.8 percent of the candidates seeking
admission never get admitted. The emergence of private provision of higher education in Nigeria
came with the inauguration of a democratic system of government under President Olusegun
Obasanjo in 1999. The National Universities Commission was empowered to receive applications,
examine and validate the facilities of serious applicants of private Universities across the country.
And so, in 1999, three private universities emerged namely, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo
State; Babcock University, Ileshan Remo, Ogun State and Madonna University, Okija, Anambra
State. In 2001, Bowen University, Iwo, Oyo State was established while Covenant University, Ota,
Ogun State was established in 2002.
Table1: Total Number of Universities, Applications and Admission Between 1999 – 2009
S/N
YEAR
NO OF
UNIVERSITIES
NO OF
APPLICATIONS
NO
ADMITTED
LEFT OVER
1999/2000
45
417,773
78,550
339,223
2000/2001
46
467,490
50,277
417,213
2001/2002
52
550,399
60,718
544,321
2002/2003
53
994,380
51,845
942,53
5
2003/2004
54
1,046,950
105,157
941,793
2004/2005
56
841,878
122,492
719,386
2005/2006
75
916,371
N/A
N/A
2006/2007
76
803,472
123,626
679,846
2007/2008
94
1,054,053
194,521
859532
10.
2008/2009
95
1,182,381
N/A
N/A
..
….
….
X
2012/2013
122
1,503,9
N/A
N/A
Source: (Ajadi, 2012)
Table 1 shows the admission capacity of Nigerian universities between 1999 and 2009. This shows
that the available universities are barely able to accommodate 20% of the applicants. This also
reflects the fact that government alone cannot help because the available public universities are
poorly funded and there is a dearth of adequate human and material resources; which invariably
gives credence to the emergence of private universities in Nigeria.
According to Ojerinde (2011), of the 1,185,579 persons that took the JAMB examination in 2009, a
total of 211,991 was admitted, amounting to 17.9 percent of the applicants. This shows that less
than 20 percent of those who apply to universities are admitted. Also, Adesulu (2013) reports that,
in 2010/2011, Nigeria had 112 universities with carrying capacity of 450,000 and 1,493,611
applicants. Thus, the admitting capacity was 30.13 per cent of the total number of applicants. This
means that at best, only 30.13 per cent of the total number of applicants were accommodated during
that academic session. In the 2011/2012 session, five universities were added, bringing the number
to 117, with 500,000 carrying capacity amounting to 33.25 per cent and 1,503,933 students applied
that year. However, in 2012/2013, 11 universities were added bringing it to 128 with 520,000
(29.96 percent) admission spaces. In that year, a total of 1,735,729 applied for UTME. In fact, the
National Universities Commission report of 2011/2012 showed that, most of the universities in
Nigeria exceeded their allotted admission quota.
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Problems Facing Higher Education in Nigeria
There are enormous problems facing the education system in Nigeria. Indeed, over the years,
education in Nigeria has suffered much neglect manifested in the form of inadequate funding,
inconsistent policy changes; lack of infrastructure and disruption of the school system. These
problems in the education system have been very disturbing. In fact, budgetary allocations to
education in Nigeria have been grossly inadequate leading to agitations by lecturers and students
about obsolete equipment, old and outdated textbooks and journals including poor remuneration for
lecturers especially at the tertiary level, which have also heightened the level of brain drain in the
country as many of them moved to different parts of the world in search of greener pastures.
There have been complaints by employers of labour within and outside the country that most
graduates from Nigerian Universities are not properly trained to fit into the world of work in terms
of desirable knowledge and skill. In developed countries, especially in Europe and America, most
Nigerian graduates are seen as half-baked due to such issues as constant strikes, conflicts, disruption
of academic calendar and cultism which have destroyed the quality of education in Nigeria
including the dearth of qualified and experienced lecturers.
Education is the engine that drives the growth and development of a nation. Some developing
countries, especially in Asia, have been able to transform their economies and their people.
Countries such as Japan, Korea, India and China did not necessarily wait for the transfer of
technology as observed from most African countries like Nigeria but were committed to a system
where they copied, adapted and fabricated foreign technology through an inward-looking strategy to
suit their own cultures, environment and needs. This is where the country failed to understand that
education must be pragmatic in nature if it is to create any meaningful impact in the life and living
conditions of the people.
The role of education in the development of a society and the pathetic stories about Nigeria’s
university education has been vastly documented in higher education literature. It suffices to note
here that the state of education is one of the crucial indicators of the seriousness of a society in its
quest for national development because the quality of education in a society determines the quality
of its leaders and the pace of social development. Universities (higher institutions) in advanced and
well-organized societies are the center of social activities and the environment provides good
settings for research, teaching and learning. Unfortunately, the culture of corruption has prevented
Nigeria from providing good quality education to the youth to prepare them for the challenges of
the 21st century economy.
Characteristics of University Education in Nigeria
In the 1960s, schools were properly administered and discipline was enforced. The quality of
graduates was high and certificates awarded by the schools were equal to those awarded by schools
in the West. Demand for higher education in Nigeria increased during the oil boom of the 1970s and
the number of students increased without commensurate funding. However, things went really sour
in the late 1980s, and education was neglected; and the quality of graduates has since been
compromised, affecting every facet of the society. In the 1990s, some of the loans from the World
Bank for education were used to purchase irrelevant books and “expensive equipment” that could
not be maintained.
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Funding for education has not been commensurate with the demand of the education sector.
Reportedly, the percentage of federal budgetary allocation to education has been dwindling. It was
7.2% in 1995 and 4.5% in 2004. The condition becomes more pathetic when Nigeria’s Gross
National Product (GNP) allocation to education is compared with those of less affluent African
nations that allocate greater percentage: Ivory Coast allocates 5% of its GNP to education, Kenya
6.5% and Nigeria 0.76%. Lack of teaching tools and poor remuneration has contributed to “acute
shortage of qualified teachers” that leads to the falling standards of university education. More
revealing is the 2006 ranking of African universities in which Nigerian universities, that were once
highly rated, were behind universities in poorer countries.
It is imperative to add that in 2004, the sum of N216, 708,206.00 was requested by the federal
funded universities. The Federal government released the sum of N53, 406,287.01 representing
24.7% of the budget request from the Universities (Okuwa, 2004; Aluede, et al, 2012). As espoused
by Odebiyi and Aina (1999), the multiplier effects of this low level of funding include: poor
laboratory facilities; limited number of field trips and academic conferences; inadequate and
obsolete infrastructure and equipment; embargo on study fellowship and reduction in study grants.
This is the educational situation in Nigeria that gave birth to the emergence of private universities. It
is imperative to state that private universities especially Christian or Mission- based Universities
of which Covenant University from the webometrics ranking (CSIC, 2014) is the leading private
university in Nigeria, is aimed at raising a new generation of leaders for the emancipation of the
black race. At present, the private sector is a fast expanding segment of university education in
Nigeria, although it still constitutes a small share of enrolment in university education (Ajadi,
2012).
Good education is the best way to prepare a nation for excellence. Without good education and
proper skill, how would the people grow, develop and compete effectively in the rapidly changing
global economy? The failure of the government to implement its agreement with university teachers
prompted the 2003 ASUU strike that lasted for about six months. This exacerbated the mass exodus
(‘brain-drain’) of experienced professors to countries with better working conditions. Not much has
changed because ASUU strike actions have become a common occurrence in Nigeria. How would
the nation ensure sustainable growth and development without investing in the educational sector?
How would the society train the critical and creative minds to manage its democratic process
without investing copiously on human capital development? How would the youth compete
effectively in the global marketplace without giving the citizens the skills and knowledge to
produce high quality goods and services?
Education is the cornerstone of a nation; something is obviously wrong with any society that does
not take its educational institutions seriously. Corruption and mismanagement of funds are at the
centre of the sordid state of university system in Nigeria. The neglect of the sector has created many
problems in the society, including cultism and cheating in examinations, poor quality graduates,
unemployment and poverty including rising moral laxity and gross in-discipline (Dike, 2006).
So the problems with university education in Nigeria are many. Indeed, poor working condition is
dissuading talented individuals from entering the teaching profession. Some lecturers in Nigerian
universities are said to teach up to six courses per semester. That is a lot of course load. Teachers
are not expected to perform miracles without the necessary teaching tools. Schools need functional
libraries, current books and modern laboratories. Also, classrooms need modern instructional
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55
technologies and computers connected to the Internet, projectors, audio-visual and video
conferencing equipment, and others. Essentially, there are six major problems to be solved in order
to achieve quality education in Nigerian universities. Three of the problems are primary in the sense
that they are largely responsible for the other three. The primary problems are: funding shortages;
the negative influence of a corruptive and valueless political system; and planning and
implementation problems.
These have led to the weakening of university administration; poor teaching and learning outcomes;
diminishing research and consultancy traditions; and questionable service to the community.
Viewed very closely, the last three problems point to diminishing returns in the basic missions of
universities. The government’s poor planning and defective implementation of policies and projects
has also adversely affected the universities. The situation has since worsened to the point that it is
unclear which education policy is now operative. Within the past year alone, the overall education
structure changed, or so we were told, from 6-3-3-4 to 9-3-4. Within the same period, President
Goodluck Jonathan’s administration established nine new universities without regard to the
problems facing existing universities and mass unemployment of existing graduates. The future of
the new universities and their graduates was never seriously considered.
According to Akinnaso (2012), in the absence of adequate funding and clear direction, universities
are left to engage mainly in routine activities. There are master plans alright and periodic
development plans are constructed, but neither is implemented. A number of federal and state
universities have remained on their temporary sites for decades because the government has failed
to back up its initial promise with adequate funding. The government’s failure to respect its
agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities has frequently led to strikes and
university closures. Inadequate funding, poor planning, and the erosion of values have produced a
culture of underachievement that will take decades to change. Particularly affected by these factors
are the universities’ internal administration and the trio of teaching/learning; research/consultancies;
and community service.
Regulatory Frameworks on Higher Education in Nigeria
Generally speaking, higher education refers to post-secondary education or tertiary educational
institutions other than universities The National Policy on Education in Nigeria (FGN, 2004)
defines higher education as post-secondary education comprising universities, polytechnics and
colleges of education including such institutions as may be allied to them. In Nigeria, higher
education is involved in the traditional functions of teaching, research and community service so as
to develop manpower and disseminate necessary knowledge needed in Industry and other sectors.
Education in general and higher education in particular are fundamental to the construction of a
knowledge economy in all nations.
The decade from 1990 witnessed an upsurge in the number of private institutions of learning in
Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. Before this decade, most African countries committed
much of their expenditures on public education, which served as an instrument for building the
nation, following independence. Today, there is an increasing pressure on African governments to
shift from subsidization to privatization of their education systems especially at the university level.
This pressure arises from economic liberalism, growing political pluralism, rising public demand
for education in the face of a declining economy and increasing competition among public sectors,
as well as lingering government’s failure in the provision of qualitative schooling. In many parts of
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the world, increased competition from private institutions has brought about greater diversity and
choice for students and has served as a powerful incentive for public universities to innovate and
modernize (IBRD/World Bank, 2002:72).
The establishment of higher educational institutions was in pursuit of meeting the global
requirements of producing manpower that will serve in different capacities and contribute positively
to the nation’s socio-economic and political development in Nigeria (Abdulkareem, Fasasi &
Akinubi, 2011). Federal Government of Nigeria promulgated enabling law to found higher
education towards producing high level relevant manpower training, self-reliance, national utility
through the establishment of both conventional and special universities, polytechnics, colleges of
education and monotechnics in different parts of the country by the Federal, state governments,
private organizations and individuals (Abdulkareem, Fasasi & Akinubi, 2011).
Akinyemi (2013) reported that the 1979 constitution placed education on the concurrent legislative
list with the establishment of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) in 1980
as the first state University. Okojie, Oloyede, and Obanya, (2011) listed 41 private universities to
have been issued licenses to operate in accordance with Decree 9 of 1993 for the establishment of
private universities expanding Nigerian university education system from one University College in
1948 to 117 in 2011.
Accoeding to Okojie (2007), the National University Commission (NUC) has control over all
federal, state and private universities, especially in terms of accreditation of courses, approval of
courses and programmes, maintenance of minimum academic standards, monitoring of universities,
giving guidelines for setting up of universities, monitoring of private universities, deterrence of the
establishment of illegal campus and implementing appropriate sanctions.
There is no doubt that the quality of higher education determines the quality of human resources of
a country. One of the major objectives of the universities is to produce a qualified, skilled and
globally competent workforce for the labour market of business and industry, which is a critical
factor to national growth and development (Obadara & Alaka, 2013). Since no nation can develop
beyond the quality of its higher education. Recent developments such as increasing student
enrolments; reduced state funding for public higher education; increasing number of private
providers; internationalization cross border education have also influenced the purpose and
functions of higher education (Hayward, 2006). As part of the efforts to ensure qualitative
university education in Nigeria, the NUC was particular about ensuring accreditation of academic
programmes in Nigerian universities in order to produce graduates who are relevant to the Nigerian
economy. Emphasis was laid on the quality of academic staff and students to be admitted and
employed respectively.
The National Universities Commission started as an advisory agency in the Cabinet Office in 1962.
However, in 1974, it became a corporate body with statutory functions and powers by virtue of the
National Universities Commission Act No. 1 of 1974. The Commission is committed to improving
the quality of university programmes through injection of requisite inputs as well as assuring quality
process and outputs based on the decree 49 of 1988 that widen its scope. Also, the power to lay
down minimum standards for all universities and other institutions of higher learning in the
federation and the accreditation of their degrees and other academic awards is vested in the National
Universities Commission by virtue of section 10(1) of the Education (National Minimum Standards
and Establishment of Institutions) Act, Cap. E3, Laws of the Federation, 2004 (formerly Section 10
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57
of Act No. 16 of 1985). This Act vested in the NUC very wide and enormous powers with respect to
the supervision and regulation of university education in Nigeria (NUC, 2006). The need for global
competiveness is another recent development that has impacted higher education. In Nigeria, some
of these recent developments are reflected in the mission statement of the National Universities
Commission (NUC), which is the regulatory body established to oversee the administration and
delivery of higher education in Nigeria: ‘to ensure the orderly development of a well-coordinated
and productive university system that will guarantee quality and relevant education for national
development and global competitiveness (NUC, 2009).
The rapid expansion of universities is at a price to the nation. Universities are facing serious crises
in all respects. The physical facilities of all public universities that offer most of the places to
students are grossly inadequate and/or in a complete state of disrepair. Their libraries are bereft of
leading international journals and new books while the quality and quantity of teachers have
declined. Most of them also lack information and communication technologies. Finally, most of the
public institutions have become a haven for cultism, sexual harassment, and other unlawful
practices. One of the reasons for the deplorable state of Nigeria’s public universities is uncontrolled
expansion. Banjo (2004), a former Vice-Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier University, the University
of Ibadan, observed that: Ibadan is the first degree-awarding institution in the country. Then
followed the big explosions: seven new universities in the seventies and eighties. Clearly, other
motivations than excellence were behind this proliferation. Not unexpectedly, the new universities
found it hard to keep up with the older ones, and what is worse, they also began to drag the older
ones down with them into the quagmire of under-funding, compromised quality and other attendant
problems
Prolonged military rule affected all departments of life in Nigeria including universities (Adesina &
Awonusi, 2004). Successive military regimes eroded the autonomy of these institutions and most of
the vice-chancellors gradually became dignified agents of the government of the day. Military rule
also affected management style as well as subverted the due process that is customary of
universities (Ekong, 2002). The self-concept of academics and the capacity of their institutions to
play their accustomed role in society also diminished. The final assault on universities came through
the implementation of SAP in the 1980s which had a deleterious impact on the funding of these
institutions (Obikoya, 2002) resulting in low salaries and poor facilities including low morale.
Comparing Nigerian Universities with the Rest of the World
There have often been mixed reactions concerning the issue of university education in Nigeria and
how this can be compared to what is obtainable in other countries of the world. The assumption has
been that Nigerian education system is substandard because it does not meet the technological needs
of the 21st century. In addition, there have been complaints that graduates from tertiary Institutions
in Nigeria are mostly half baked due to the irregular school system and dearth of facilities.
Nigerians struggle to study abroad because of their conviction that this will give them a competitive
edge in terms of job opportunities and placement if they decide to return back to their country of
origin. This is hinged on the exposure and training including the use of superior technology in
advanced industrial countries such as the United States that is today at the cutting edge in education
and technology manifested in the fact that globally, most of the highly ranked Universities both
public and private are in the United States.
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The government of Nigeria recently initiated higher education policy reforms intended to bring its
university system more in line with international good practices. The reforms promote increased
institutional autonomy, greater system differentiation, strengthened governance, and mechanisms
for quality assurance. They seek to create a more flexible and responsive system of university
teaching and research that, over time, will contribute increasingly to national innovation capacities,
productivity gains, and economic growth (Saint et al, 2003). From a global perspective, economic
and social development is increasingly driven by the advancement and application of knowledge.
Education in general and higher education in particular, are fundamental to the construction of a
knowledge economy and society in all nations (World Bank, 1999). Yet the potential of higher
education systems in developing countries like Nigeria to fulfill this responsibility is frequently
thwarted by long-standing problems of finance, efficiency, equity, quality and governance (Saint, et
al, 2003). Nigeria is Africa’s largest country with 20 percent of the region’s population; yet it has
only 15 scientists and engineers engaged in research and development per million persons when
compared with 168 in Brazil, 459 in China, 158 in India, and 4,103 in the United States (World
Bank, 2002).
Nigeria is Africa's sleeping economic giant. It is also a somewhat deformed giant. While one-third
of its population pursues a lifestyle oriented in various degrees towards Europe and North America,
the other two-thirds struggle to survive on less than one dollar per day (World Bank, 1996).
Wrapped in a culture noted for industry, creativity and initiative, some Nigerians prefer to apply
these talents to questionable or illicit pursuits, while many others expect government to provide the
cure for their economic and social ills. Consequently, the country’s business environment is
distorted and restrictive. In spite of substantial oil revenues, per capita income is lower today than it
was in 1970, just as the non-oil economy sector has become stagnant.
However, efforts to expand enrollments and improve educational quality are severely constrained
by growing shortages of qualified academic staff. Between 1997 and 1999, the numbers of
academic staff declined by 12% even as enrollments expanded by 13%. Long-term brain drain,
combined with insufficient output from national postgraduate programs in the face of rising
enrollments, has left the federal university system with only 48% of its estimated staffing needs
filled. Staffing scarcity is most acute in engineering, science and business disciplines. Shortfalls are
estimated at 73% in engineering, 62% in medicine, 58% in administration, and 53% in sciences. In
contrast, no staffing shortages exist in the disciplinary areas of Arts and Education (NUC, 2002).
And Hinchliffe (2002) asserts that education expenditure in Nigeria is only 2.4% of GDP and 14.3%
of government expenditure. The share of these funds going to primary education is about 35% and
secondary education’s portion is put at 29%, while tertiary education’s share is about 36%.
In today’s globally competitive knowledge economy, updating of curricula which lacks quality
needs to be an almost permanent undertaking. Clark (2001) suggests that university departments in
Nigeria will need to change their curricula every two or three years in order to ensure that the
content of their teaching reflects the rapidly advancing frontiers of scientific knowledge. This is
premised on the fact that public and private employers of university graduates consider the quality
of university graduates to be inadequate. A study of the labor market for graduates found that
employers believe “university graduates are poorly trained and unproductive on the job, and
shortcomings are particularly severe in oral and written communication, and in applied technical
skills” (Dabalen, Oni & Adekola, 2001). Much of university teaching in Nigeria is based on
traditional pedagogy and conventional curricula, and does not even meet the government’s own
standards in these areas. In today’s world, the content and method of Nigerian university teaching is
International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 3 No. 2 February 2015
59
often outdated, not responsive to employers’ requirements, and disconnected from the labor market.
Likewise, its research output is extremely low and unable to prompt innovation-based productivity
gains.
Ironically, despite these issues, most Nigerians who go to study abroad often come tops in their
classes and several others have made remarkable success in the world of work, in companies and
organizations as doctors, lawyers, scientists, academics and others in Europe, USA, and other
advanced economies of the world. Within the African Continent, Nigeria has one of the oldest,
biggest and most comprehensive university education system (CODESRIA, 2005). Nigeria has
attained remarkable achievements in its drive to achieving academic excellence that can stand the
test of time. One way this has been achieved is through the Technical Aids Corps Scheme (TAC)
which was established in 1987 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to assist countries of the
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions in manpower and skills development as a way of
strengthening South-South cooperation and self reliance among the various countries of these
regions. Since inception in 1987, over 3,000 Nigerians have been deployed to 38 African,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The countries include: Seychelles, Eritrea, Congo
Brazzaville, Gambia, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Fiji Island, Sao Tome and Principe, and the
Commonwealth of Dominica. Namibia (MFA, 2011).
Recommendation and Conclusion
It is necessary to emphasize that the public university system with all its associated problems no
longer has a strong hold on university education in Nigeria. The private-sector driven universities
are emerging and available records show that they have regular academic calendars and have also
been able to absorb the excess social demand for university education.
Table 2: WEBOMETRIC RANKING OF UNIVERSITIES IN NIGERIA
Ranking World
Rank
University Det.
Presence
Rank*
Impact
Rank*
Openness
Rank*
Excellence
Rank*
1 1655 Obafemi Awolowo University
1392 1644 3988 2340
2 2075 Covenant University Ota
3631 3096 955 2993
3 2355 University of Ibadan
7946 3698 3731 1491
4 2367 University of Lagos
3489 4102 2962 2259
5 2723 University of Ilorin
3463 6939 923 2594
6 3359 Ahmadu Bello University
3837 8121 2769 2466
7 3368 University of Agriculture Abeokuta
4803 8493 992 2993
8 3685 Landmark University
5685 1645 6454 5442
9 3920 Federal University of Technology
Akure
4549 10026 1593 2900
10 3976 University of Nigeria
7794 6220 5978 2520
Source: CSIC, Spain (2014)
The 2014 Webometric ranking of Universities in Nigeria shows that of the 129 Universities in the
country comprising, 40 Federal Universities, 39 State Universities and 50 Private Universities, there
are 2 private universities among the top 10. They are, Covenant University, which is the second best
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60
university on the webometric ranking and Landmark University which is placed eight in the
webometric ranking for universities in Nigeria. This is a proof of not just the wisdom in setting up
these private universities, but it also shows that their regular academic calendars have yielded
amazing benefits, showing clearly that this must be the way to go.
Table 3: WEBOMETRIC RANKING OF UNIVERSITIES IN AFRICA
Ranking World
Rank
University Det. Country Presence
Rank*
Impact
Rank*
Openness
Rank*
Excellence
Rank*
Ranking World Rank University Det. Country Presence Rank* Impact Rank* Openness Rank* Excellence Rank*
1 350 University of Cape Town
947 521 540 267
2 358 Cairo University
800 142 1361 633
3 439 Stellenbosch University
487 994 199 454
4 444 University of Pretoria
336 986 117 608
5 580 University of the Witwatersrand
1685 1230 359 414
6 752 University of Kwazulu Natal
1655 1221 1320 559
7 789 University of the Western Cape
1076 935 932 1239
8 904 American University in Cairo
1410 544 1138 2214
9 907 University of Nairobi
1109 2225 44 1403
10 911 Mansoura University
1136 853 2944 1047
11 968 Rhodes University
1077 1601 896 1316
12 1058 University of South Africa
535 2028 371 1925
13 1134 Makerere University
1677 2990 719 880
14 1204 University of Johannesburg
2719 2949 462 1004
15 1223 Alexandria University
1382 2072 2502 996
16 1430 North West University
1926 4274 433 1232
17 1493 Benha University
1728 2004 1426 2259
18 1599 Addis Ababa University
561 5487 746 1447
19 1655 Obafemi Awolowo University
1392 1644 3988 2340
20 1729 Zagazig University
2826 3826 1881 1377
21 1826 University of Ghana
3792 3944 1690 1455
22 1983 Kenyatta University
993 5874 299 2484
23 1987 University of the Free State
2385 4507 2856 1342
24 2070 University of Khartoum
97 5341 3012 2101
25 2075 Covenant University Ota
3631 3096 955 2993
Source: CSIC, Spain (2014)
It is imperative to add that, of the 1,306 Universities considered for the Webometric ranking in
Africa, Covenant University which is a private university emerged as the 25th best University in
Africa. This is a testimony to the success of private universities in Nigeria and across Africa with
particular emphasis on the wisdom behind the establishment of private universities under the
approval of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Nigeria.
In addition, many private universities are forging healthy academic and industry relevant linkages
including international linkages with universities in advanced industrial societies in the area of
International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 3 No. 2 February 2015
61
manpower development and exchange programmes involving lecturers and students which will go a
long way in strengthening the educational landscape in Nigeria.
This and other reform policies by the National Universities Commission (NUC) will help bring the
university system more in line with international good practices. It is also expected that there will be
a general overhaul in the entire education system of the country to make it competitive
internationally. Education remains a critical factor in Nigeria’s development and so must continue
to receive prominence in terms of visibility and coverage so that government officials and organs no
longer play pretense about being ignorant of the true state of the educational sector in Nigeria.
School administrators and the government should develop the political will to restore sanity in the
higher education sector and motivate the students by providing them a healthy learning environment
(modern classrooms and living quarters) and assist the needy with affordable loans and grants to
finance their education. To improve the quality of graduates’ university admissions should be
strictly on merit; and schools should offer courses that meet the challenges of the 21st century
economy. Higher institutions should be granted full autonomy and allowed unfettered hands to
source funds through private sector partnership.
There is the need to rebuild a culture of scholarship that has been neglected in the society. Without
taking care of students’ needs, violence and cultism on the campuses will continue. The society
could tackle the vices by redefining Nigeria’s value system and attending to the needs of the
students; providing the students with enough recreational activities, attend to their medical and
psychological needs, and provide adequate security on campuses, among others. Students should
also have the opportunity to appraise the effectiveness of their lecturers at the end of every course
and semester. This process will help lecturers to improve their teaching method and classroom
management technique. The method of teaching in the university should shift from the traditional
(theory-based) to progressive and pragmatic education (in-built practical application).
Granted that the nation’s university system should be staffed by competent and highly educated
professors, the policy of hiring only those with Ph.D. degrees for teaching positions may be
counterproductive. Thus experienced career professionals with adequate industry experience (and
gifted individuals with passion for education and teaching) with good quality education at a
graduate level (Master’s degrees) could teach undergraduate classes at the university level in
specific areas of specialty. It has been this way in many advanced nations, as the professionals bring
in their hands-on life experiences to the classroom. There is a lot of difference between theory and
practical education, which is lacking in the system.
Lack of proper supervision is also part of the problem bedeviling the nation’s educational system.
Nigeria’s education administrators are good at documenting the crucial problems facing the
universities without solving the problems. Despite their inability to provide the necessary resources
for effective teaching and learning, most of the existing universities are offering programs they are
not capable of handling especially their inability to provide adequate and modern laboratories and
libraries. The NUC must also be careful in the issuance of licenses to individuals and organizations
rushing to establish private universities without serious plans on how to train the requisite
manpower of the institutions. Rather, they should be required to show concrete and serious plans for
training or acquiring the needed teachers for the programs they intend to offer.
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As an exploratory study, this paper has examined the problems facing higher education in Nigeria
and the emergence of private universities. The public university system has been tackled by
different crises which have made it incapable of delivering quality higher education to the Nigerian
people. The emergence of private universities has somewhat helped to ameliorate the situation.
However, with greater supervision from the regulatory authorities, an improved funding
environment and provision of basic infrastructure such as power supply, Nigerian universities stand
the chance of competing favorably if not outpacing their rivals in Africa and in the global academic
community.
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Chapter
Little is known about the readiness of African countries in education in general, and mathematics education in particular, to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This chapter reviewed and analysed 20 peer-reviewed articles downloaded from Google Scholar, Research Gate, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), and Academia databases. The reviewed articles were published from 2014 until 2021. The findings showed that the readiness of mathematics education for the 4IR is still unknown in many African countries. The identified main issues that hinder Africa from being ready for the 4IR include: insufficient infrastructure, lack of continuous professional development, and mathematics curricula that are not designed to accommodate changes for the 4IR. Based on the reviewed literature, the authors of this book chapter conclude that South Africa is the only country on the continent that shows the readiness for the 4IR in mathematics education, although it also faces some challenges. Therefore, human capital development, the increase of infrastructure, and policies that support the readiness for Africa to embrace the 4IR should be implemented.KeywordsAfricaEducationFourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)MathematicsReadiness
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PENGURUSAN BAKAT DAN PRESTASI KERJA DALAM INDUSTRI PERBANKAN NIGERIA: PERANAN PENGLIBATAN KERJA, KEPUASAN KERJA DAN PERSEPSI SOKONGAN ABSTRAK Bank Sentral Nigeria bertujuan membentuk semula industri perbankan Negara Nigeria. Pelbagai dasar ekonomi yang bertujuan untuk membentuk semula telah diwujudkan oleh Bank Sentral Nigeria. Namun begitu, kebanyakan bank di Nigeria masih tidak menunjukkan prestasi yang baik berbanding dengan bank di negara lain. Kajian ini bertujuan mengkaji prestasi pekerja dalam industri perbankan di Nigeria. Berdasarkan teori pertukaran sosial dan teori modal insan, kajian ini fokus kepada menyiasat hubungan pengurusan bakat dengan prestasi kerja pekerja dalam industri perbankan Nigeria. Kajian ini menggunakan penglibatan kerja dan kepuasan kerja sebagai angkubah mediasi serta persepsi sokongan organisasi dan persepsi sokongan supervisor sebagai angkubah moderasi. Soal selidik digunakan untuk mengumpul maklumat dari 302 pekerja sepenuh masa di lima buah bank terbaik dalam industri perbankan Nigeria. Data kemudian dianalisis menggunakan PLS-SEM. Dapatan kajian menunjukkan bahawa tarikan bakat dan pengembangan bakat pekerja mempunyai pengaruh positif terhadap prestasi kerja, gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Pengekalan bakat didapati tidak mempunyai pengaruh signifikan terhadap prestasi kerja, gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Hasil kajian membuktikan bahawa penglibatan kerja dan kepuasan kerja berpengaruh positif atas tarikan bakat, pengembangan bakat dan prestasi kerja, gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Sebaliknya, penglibatan kerja dan kepuasan kerja tidak menjadi angkubah mediasi atas perhubungan antara pengekalan bakat dan prestasi kerja, gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Tambahan lagi, persepsi sokongan supervisor tidak memoderasi perhubungan antara penglibatan kerja dan prestasi kerja, gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Walau bagaimanapun, dapatan menunjukkan bahawa persepsi sokongan supervisor memoderasi perhubungan antara kepuasan kerja, prestasi kerja dan gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi, tetapi tidak memoderasi perhubungan antara kepuasan kerja dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Akhirnya, kajian mendapati bahawa persepsi sokongan supervisor tidak memoderasi hubungan antara penglibatan kerja dan prestasi kerja, gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individu. Dengan cara yang sama, persepsi sokongan supervisor tidak mempengaruhi perhubungan antara kepuasan kerja dengan gelagat kewarganegaraan organisasi dan gelagat kewarganegaraan individua, tetapi memoderasikan perhubungan antara kepuasan kerja dan prestasi kerja. Oleh itu, untuk bank Nigeria memotivasi pekerja supaya berprestasi tinggi dalam ekonomi digital ini, pengurusan bakat perlu dirancang dengan teliti kerana pengurusan bakat dapat mewujudkan keadaan lebih daya saing. Kesimpulannya, kajian ini akan memanfaatkan industri perbankan Nigeria, pihak berkepentingan dan pembuat dasar dalam memahami peramal prestasi kerja industri perbankan agar prestasi pekerja dapat dipertingkatkan. TALENT MANAGEMENT AND JOB PERFORMANCE IN NIGERIAN BANKING INDUSTRY: THE ROLES OF WORK ENGAGEMENT, JOB SATISFACTION, AND PERCEIVED SUPPORT ABSTRACT The Central Bank of Nigeria aimed to reshape Nigeria’s banking industry. However, despite the various economic policies, most banks continue to perform poorly compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world. Therefore, there is a need to study the Nigerian banking industry, in particular, the predictors of employee job performance. Based on the social exchange theory and human capital theory, this study aims to investigate talent management and job performance of Nigerian banks, using work engagement and job satisfaction as mediators, as well as perceived organizational support (POS) and perceived supervisory support (PSS) as moderators. Questionnaire was used to obtain information from 302 full-time employees of the top five banks in Nigeria. PLS-SEM was used to analyze the data. The results indicated that talent attraction and talent development have a significant and positive influence on task performance, organizational citizenship behavior organization (OCBO), and organizational citizenship behavior individual (OCBI). However, talent retention was found to have no significant effect on employee task performance, OCBO, and OCBI. Work engagement and job satisfaction are found to relate positively to talent attraction, talent development, task performance, OCBO, and OCBI. However, work engagement and job satisfaction do not mediate the relationship between talent retention and task performance, OCBO, and OCBI. Furthermore, it is found that POS does not moderate the relationship between work engagement and task performance, OCBO, and OCBI. However, the finding revealed that POS moderates the relationship between job satisfaction and task performance and OCBO, but does not moderate the relationship between job satisfaction and OCBI. Finally, PSS does not moderate the relationship between work engagement and task performance, OCBO and OCBI. Similarly, PSS does not intervene in the relationship between job satisfaction, OCBO and OCBI, but instead it moderates the relationship between job satisfaction and task performance. Therefore, for the Nigerian banks to motivate high-performing employees in this digital economy, talent management will need to be carefully designed to create the most enduring competitive advantage. This study will benefit the Nigerian banking industry, the stakeholders, and the policy makers to apprehend the predictors of job performance so that the prevalence of poor employee job performance will not occur.
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