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					 THE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM:
 IN SEARCH OF RELEVANCE


A PAPER PRESENTED BY
Professor Timothy O. Olagbemiro, FCSN, FICCON
Vice Chancellor
Bowen University, Iwo,
Nigeria
INTRODUCTION
Higher education represents all forms of
 organized educational learning activities
 beyond secondary levels.
 It includes:
Universities
Polytechnics
Training colleges
Professional Institutes etc.
Countries within the sub-saharan
 Africa region had their Universities
 founded after independence

Some of these Universities include:
Fourah College
Universities of Ibadan, Ghana, Harare,
 Zimbabwe
Universities of Dakar,Yaounde, Abidjan and
 Brazaville
PECULIARITIES OF THESE EARLY
UNIVERSITIES
• Adequately funded
• Established to produce middle-level manpower
 for Colonial offices and ther allied Companies
Elementary and Sunday Schools Teacher
Policemen, Health and Sanitary Inspectors
Tax Collectors, Clerical officers, Artisans, etc.
    POST-COLONIAL PERIOD
• Political instability
• Poor funding
• Increase in university enrolment
• Shift in focus
• Loss of relevance
• Deflection of staff and potential academics
  overseas
• Resultant effect: DETERIORATION IN
  EDUCATION
 AN OVERVIEW OF THE NIGERIAN
 UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
 Pre-Independence Years     -     1
 Between 1960 & 1969            - 5 Universities
 Between 1970 & 2011            - 117 Universities

       ANALYSIS OF OWNERSHIP
     FEDERAL         STATE          PRIVATE
         36             36              45
 FUNCTIONS OF THE NIGERIAN
 UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
In broad terms, the 7-point contained in the
 National Policy on Education (2004) could be
 summed up into 3, to represent the expected
 roles the Nigerian University System is to
 promote, which include:
Teaching
Research, and
Community Service
 AN APPRAISAL OF THE NIGERIAN
 UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
• The Nigerian University System, despite the
  challenges confronting it, has contributed to the
  realization of the goals of Education in Nigeria, as
  contained in the 2004 National Policy on
  Education
• A review of these challenges will assist in
  determining the current place of the system and
  its relevance in the face of emerging global
  realities.
SOME CHALLENGES CONFRONTING
THE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
• Funding
• Infrastructure
• Globalisation
• Information and Communication
  Technology (ICT) Revolution
• Management Style:   Interactive
  Communication - Social and Personal
  Skills
CHALLENGES … Cont’d
 Relevance of Curriculum to National
  Needs
 Developing Society that are devoid of
  Corruption, Poor Work Ethics and other
  Vices
 Brain Drain
 Undue Interference
THE NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM: OF
WHAT RELEVANCE?

“Relevance is phenomenon that
  needs to be demonstrated, not
   just once, but on an ongoing
               basis”
          (Hague 1991)
It requires all stakeholders,
 irrespective of ownership, to re-think
 the expectations of the system, in
 terms of output - teaching quality and
 research activities, and contributions
 to nation building, expected of a 21st
 century university that will compete
 globally.
 SOME CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE
 NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
• Manpower training - training of competent
  professionals in various fields of economic and
  public sector management
• Self-reliance through Entrepreneurship Education
• Supporting knowledge-driven economy
• Construction of a democratic and socially
  cohesive societies, etc.
PERTINENT QUESTIONS ABOUT THE
NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY SYSTEM
• In recent years, are Nigerian graduates of quality
  standard?
• How accessible are the degree and certificates to
  all Nigerians?
• Are the facilities in the Nigerian Universities
  comparable to those obtained in developed
  countries?
• Are Nigerian degrees sub-standard?
Answers to these questions revolve
round re-examining each of the problems
earlier identified above. These include the
following:
 Funding - funding of Universities should
   follow the UNESCO prescription of 26%
 Infrastructure - the environment must be
   made comfortable for teaching and learning
 Globalisation – necessary steps should be
   taken to enhance the international content of
   programmes and courses offered.
 Information and Communication
  Technology (ICT) Revolution - the gap
  between how students live and learn must be
  bridged.
 Interactive Communication - Social and
  Personal Skills: Management Style - staff
  and students within the system need to be
  proactive.
 Academic Curriculum - it must be re-
  oriented towards higher order thinking and
  reasoning.
 Academic Freedom - safeguarding academic
  freedom will enhance intellectualism within the
  system.
 Adaptation to Change - must embrace
  change in all ramifications.

It is of importance, that the system
 must be ready to display its relevance in
 terms of the following:
• Developing of curriculum in relation to
  societal need
• Attracting investment into the system from
  private organizations
• Be prepared for accountability which will
  entail more involvement of external
  professional bodies and stakeholders in the
  validating of Nigerian university graduates,
  etc.
In terms of production of knowledge,
the Nigerian University System should
note that:
  knowledge production and dissemination
   (research and teaching) are no longer self
   contained activities carried out in relative
   institutional isolation
  research practices of Universities and industry
   as well as other knowledge producers, are
   drawing closer together
 the issue of how universities will balance
  knowledge production with knowledge
  utilization is highly essential
 universities will need to be much reduced in size
  and move towards utilization of external
  intellectual resources
 universities should develop structures that
  promote and reward group creativity
 universities will have to develop different kinds
  of links with surrounding societies
 due to international competition, the era of
  producing graduates for local relevance alone
  has become obsolete
 massification of education has made more
  young people to desire university education,
  and the Nigerian University System should
  now concentrate on how to cope with this
  increasing demands in the face of poor
  funding, infrastructural deficiency and other
  challenges.
INSTITUTIONAL MANAGEMENT AND
GOVERNANCE
Universities must be vanguards of
 good governance and management
 through:
Responsiveness to situations
Accountability and honesty
Transparency and mutual dialogue
Good interpersonal relations among staff and
 their immediate community, etc.
CONCLUSION
 Below are briefs on some innovative and
 prominent strategies gaining widespread
 support:
Universities are primary tool for social change and
 development.
University education is crucial as a powerful tool, in
 order to enhance the analysis of modern trends – be it
 socio-economic, political, demographic, etc.
The bedrock and foundation for good governance as
 well as best practices is offered in Universities
Universities are primary tool for social change
 and development.
University education is crucial as a powerful tool,
 in order to enhance the analysis of modern trends
 – be it socio-economic, political, demographic,
 etc.
The bedrock and foundation for good governance
 as well as best practices is offered in Universities
Nigerian Universities must show relevance in
 research, innovation as well as evaluation.
Morality and the fear of God is of utmost
 importance in teaching and practice of any
 university that will be of relevance in Nigeria’s
 21st century.
Universities must be catalysts and agents of
 change in the society.
Universities should serve as good anchor for
 democracy and human right. It must demonstrate
 it in his vision, mission and philosophy and must
 live up to these ideals.
Universities must produce graduates who should
 create employment.
University library resources is of utmost
 importance. It must be well funded, equipped
 and fully automated.
Universities must ensure its ICT unit is well
 organized – funding, staffing; to deliver its
 services to those who need it - on and off the
 campus.
University must be INCLUSIVE NOT
 EXCLUSIVE - offering access to all and sundry.
Universities must seek collaboration, networking
 and linkages both at home and overseas.
Administrators ensure quality in governance
 – embrace “quality culture” and possess
 “Institutional Quality” as well as imbibe these
 as a “Culture Will” to create a positive
 environment, that leads to continuous
 improvement in:
The quality of life of students
The quality of life of staff
The quality of life in the immediate
 community of the institution
The quality of the life of stakeholders
 (especially parents and guardians)
The quality of the campus life
The quality of life of our proprietors
 and Council members

Students must be treated with respect
 as future leaders
Towards this end, may I encourage us
  to return to our various institutions
  with the will not to surrender, as we
  agree on the following:
 Set up university quality improvement
  committee.
 Set up quality measurement committee.
 Set up quality management committee.
 Set up university quality assurance committee.
 Set up Faculty and Department quality
  assurance committee.
BOWEN EXAMPLE
 Owned by the Nigerian Baptist Convention
 Licensed in 2001
 Commenced academic activities in 2002 with
  506 students
 Commenced academic activities in 2002 with
  506 students
 Presently has five Faculties, a College, and a
  Graduate School
 Commitment to students
 Integration of morality and godliness into
  Nigeria’s educational system.
 Meeting Educational and Social needs of
  students
 Developing holistic education that develops
  students spiritually and academically.
 Impacting Excellent Skills, Competencies and
  Christian Virtues
 Imbibing the spirit of Community Service
 Assisting students to surmount contemporary
  challenges and to adjust to realities of life.
Faculties, College and Graduate
School
 Faculty of Agriculture
 Faculty of Humanities
 Faculty of Science and Science Education
 Faculty of Social and Management Sciences
 Faculty of Law
 College of Health Sciences
 Postgraduate School
The present student population stands at
  4,553 all in residence and does not intend to
  exceed 5,000 students at maximum capacity
As part of its vision and mission, the following
  are areas of its uniqueness and demonstration
  of the above recommendations in our own
  setting:
 Staff Recruitment – the university recruits in
  accordance with NUC guidelines as well as
  investigating the background of the prospective staff
  before they are employed.
 Students Admission – open to all prospective
  students irrespective of religion, gender, etc. the
  university conduct background check on all
  prospective students.
 Affidavit – students are made to swear to an
  affidavit at a court of law declaring their non-
  membership of secret societies
 Courtesy Group – set of graduates employed by
  the University, to monitor students’ compliance with
  rules and regulations of the university
 Quality Assurance (University & Faculty) –
  adequate monitoring team in place to ensure
  compliance with academic standard, teachings and
  degree of infrastructure in place.This is replicated at
  both Faculty and Departmental levels.
 Quality Management (CPDD) – the
  Committee of Provost, Deans and Directors ensures
  quality management in all academic affairs i.e.
  recruitment of academic staff, etc.
 CHAPLAINCY
The Chaplaincy is one of the
 channels through which the
 university actualizes the integration
 of Godly values to academic
 attainments. Apart from ministering
 the normal preaching and
 counselling, the Chaplaincy engages
 the students as well as staff in the
 following:
 Discipleship programmes with sole
 aim of transforming the students to
 become better individuals.
 Outreaches, Revival, Baptismal
  Classes and Services, etc.
 Social Ministry of the Chaplaincy
  continued to render various forms of
  assistance to students in need.
 Daily   devotions - the University
  continues to ensure that every student
  participates in series of devotion put in
  place and also receive a copy of the
  “Seek Daily” devotional handbook at
  the expense of the University.
 Retreat Yearly – organized on yearly basis to
  review the university activities in the out-going year
  and chart a new way forward
 Student Government – the Bowen Baptist
  Students Fellowship (BBSF) Executives serves as
  Students’ Government.Their election is based on
  general participation of students’
 Students Movement – based on exeat system once
  in a month. Occasional confirmation are made from
  parents and guardians
 Reformation – a 2-month programme aimed at
  reforming, rehabilitating and re-integrating students
  with serious moral challenges in addition to other
  sanctions.
 SDC: Parents, Student, Staff – the Students
  Disciplinary Committee (SDC) comprises of parents
  and students representatives as well as staff of the
  university
 Staff Development and Overseas training
  for staff – at least 8 members of staff are sent
  overseas for training on yearly basis.
 Visitation Panel – Baptist Convention – the
  Proprietor (Nigerian Baptist Convention) already
  instituted aVisitation Panel that has visited the
  university prior NUC directive and the report of the
  Panel is being awaited.
 Compliance with NUC on Visitation Panel –
  NUC representative was also a member of the
  Visitation Panel instituted by the Proprietor.
 Linkages – the university has established linkages,
  in areas of academic development, with other
  universities and research institutes, both in Nigeria
  and overseas.
As a new university, we also have a
  Strategic Plan as well as Academic
  Curriculum, which is reviewed from time to
  time.The university encourages:
 Accountability
 Flexibility and Dynamism i.e. Adaptation to change
 Accessibility: Stakeholders e.g. Community, Parents,
  Staff, Students, etc. have direct access to all the
  officers of the university.
Thank you for your attention!

				
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