Higher Education In Nigeria Essay

4197 words - 17 pages

CHAPTER TWELVE FUNDING HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: CRUCIAL ISSUES A. O. O. OGUNTOYE,Pk.D Introduction Education is the fastest growing social sector of the Nigerian economy, at least, in quantitative terms. Education grew slowly but steadily during the colonial era but there was a dramatic leap forward in enrolment in the 1970s after the windfall from an oil wealth that came in form of sale of oil, oil royalties and taxes on oil. Both the wealth and the expansion in enrolment were unprecedented 'in the annals of the country. The boom, which lasted for a few years, because of its nature and the kind of people that managed it, spelt doom for education. This chapter briefly examines past ...view middle of the document...

According to these early writers and researchers, education is a human capital. It is the development of a stock of skills that is the basis for physical capital accumulation. Thus, education is an inescapable and essential part of the developmental process. Nigeria's case, in regard to education indicators, as depicted on Table 1 below, is similar to what Phillip Coombs described for the world as a whole in 1968 and 1985. According to him the causal factors were not unconnected with mounting educational aspirations of parents and their children, new stress of public policy everywhere on educational development and a pre-condition for overall national development and the stress on educational participation, and population explosion that increased the social demand for education. The poor rates of enrolments at all levels before 1950s were followed by a steady increases between 1970 and 1980. The number of primary school, increased by a mere 8.7% between 1960 and 1970 but increased by 145.8% in the following decade. In the same vein, enrolment increased by 20.7% between 1960 and 1970 and by 291.0% between 1970 and 1980. Similar pictures could be traced for secondary education. For higher education, it was like starting from nothing by I960 since there were only three known institutions of that status. The number of higher educational institutions increased to 6 by 1970, 17 by 1980 and 122 by 1990. Enrolments at this level increased by 491.7% between 1970 and 1987 and by 328.0% the following decade. These mammoth increases can partly be explained by the factors alluded to by Phillip Coombs. In addition to this, of course, was the tremendous growth in the Nigeria economy early in the 1970s. The sudden wealth came three years after the civil war terminated in January, 1970. It was upon this wealth that the magnanimity of the Gowon Administration and its reconstruction programmes after the civil was were foisted upon. Thus the reconstruction, reconciliation and rehabilitation policy of the Second National plan (1970 to 1974) received a boost in the Third Plan (1975-1980) following the huge 157

resources from crude oil exploration. Thanks to the ArabIsreali war of 1973. Education received adequate attention with government taking over the financing and administration of educational institutions at all levels, thus relieving individuals and voluntary agencies of the burden of educational provision, a measure that would eventually back-fire. The individuals, that were willing to sacrifice so much for education took the largesse of government coolly as an opportunity to be irresponsible seeing education as a public good that had to be provided and paid for from government budget caring less about how money got into the government coffers. With education regarded a 'free' good by the provider, the demands for it soared to such an extent that by the end of the 1980s government could hardly cope with the demands for education. Of course, while the...

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