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Trend Analysis in the Funding of University Research in Nigeria: Implications for Social and Economic Development in an Emerging Economy

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Abstract

Adequate financing of university's research is often believed to be one of the strong catalysts for successful economic development. However, in Nigeria, the problem of financing university’s research in particular and education in general is acute. This study, therefore, examined the trends in the financing of research in Nigeria's publicly-owned federal universities. Secondary data obtained from various national statistical bulletins and other individual sources were used to answer the four research questions raised in the study. The results showed that research funding in Nigeria universities continuously witnessed a downward trend given the real Naira value over the years. Specifically, the study discovered that for a period of twenty years (1990-2009), the average research funds available to Nigeria's federal universities was a dismal 1.3% of the total universities' actual spending. Similarly, only 0.3% of the nation's total GNP was spent on research in Nigeria as against 2.0% in South Korea; 3.0% in Japan and Germany; and 3.4% in the United States of America. The low investment in University-based research in Nigeria could have serious negative implications on the social and economic wellbeing of the country. In view of the imponderable benefits of university research, the study recommended that solid and deliberate effort be made by government towards improving financial investment in university research in the country.
... The location of university in an area could spring up other forms of allied or even non-allied businesses. For instance, such business as food vendor, books and stationeries sales, research activities, building and construction and mechanized farming etc could develop due to the presence of a university in a particular locality (see Isuku and Emunemu, 2012) ...
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In Nigeria private universities have exhibited an impressive growth over the past one and half decades, becoming one of the fastest growing higher education systems in the country. The number of private registered universities in the country increased from three in 1999 to fifty in 2012 representing 27.5% annual growth rate while enrolment also increased from just 653 in 2000/2001 session to 59,022 students in 2008/2009 session indicating an increased enrolment of 58,269 students during the period. However, despite these positive trends in the sector, the HCI for Nigeria has continued to pale into insignificance when compared with other similar countries. Thus, threatening the country's drive towards achieving sustained economic growth by the year 2020. Having x-rayed the prospects and challenges confronting private universities and human capital development in Nigeria, this paper suggests possible ways to improve private universities' contribution to the human capital production with the potential to increase economic productivity in the country.
... 2012 3 achieving these global economic benefits such as the as the provision of most of the skills needed for most occupations and professions in the society. Moreover, universities support knowledge and technology-based industries that make use of the knowledge produced by these institutions (Attach, 2008;Isuku and Emunemu, 2012). In Nigeria, however, as in most other African countries, the problem of access to university education is severe (Isuku, 2007;Sawyer, 2004). ...
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Universities across the world have increasingly continued to gain recognition as key players in their countries' efforts to develop sustainably. This has informed government's decision to commit enormous resources towards ensuring the supply of quality university graduates and also direct policy towards improving access to all eligible citizens in the country. Moreover, the important role of universities as knowledge-generating media for enhancing socioeconomic and technological advancement has resulted in liberalizing the provision of university education by most countries of the world. In Nigeria, university education has grown rapidly over the past 40 years. From just six (6) universities in 1970, the Nigerian university system has grown to over 125 in 2013, comprising both private and public universities, with an increasing total enrolment of over 800,000 students. However, despite some progress by the country in recent years towards making university education accessible, the desire to achieve global competitive level has posed serious challenge to the country. Available data show that the country still lags behind in the provision of adequate access to university education for the teeming applicants. This paper, therefore, suggests relevant strategies to tackle the various challenges that limit access to university and consequently, improve the needed access to university education in Nigeria.
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The debate about the task of financing education in general and universities in particular has continued to generate serious concern among stakeholders all over the world; and more specifically for developing countries like Nigeria. Despite various efforts in the country by successive governments at initiating policies that could enhance effective financing of the sector, there seems to be no significant improvement over the past decades. Adequate funding of universities is often believed to be one of the strong means for increasing the stock of human capital that is needed by a country for successful economic growth and development. However, in Nigeria, the problem of financing education in general and university education in particular is severe. For a long time now, the sector has contended with the challenges of inadequate funding by the government and other organizations. The problem of insufficient funding of universities is further complicated by the rising social and economic burden confronting the government in the face of declining economic fortunes and inflation-riding education budget. This development has serious implication for university product quality and national output. The study is intended to advocate for globally effective policies that would improve education funding in Nigeria.
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