Higher Education and Poverty Reduction Among the Youth

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HIGHER EDUCATION AND POVERTY REDUCTION AMONG THE YOUTH

BY

OKUNOLA, PHILIP OLAYIDE (Ph.D),

ONYENE.V.E(Ph.D.)(frontisresource@yahoo.com)

SUBAR, S.TAYO.

ASHIRU, AL-MAHROOF OLASEEWO (sirmooree@yahoo.ca)

PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 8TH REGIONAL CONFERENCE OF HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH POLICY NETWORK

VENUE: INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE (IITA), IBADAN

AUGUST, 2008

ABSTRACT

Education in Nigeria and higher education in particular, are fundamental to the construction of a knowledge economy and worthwhile society in any nation hence, from a global perspective, economic, political, technological and social developments are increasingly driven by the advancement and application of knowledge, skills and socialization acquired in the process of this education. This paper presents an empirical study of higher education and poverty reduction among the youth using the University of Lagos, Nigeria. A total of 330 youth population comprised the sample drawn from the eight faculties on campus. Three hypotheses were formulated and tested using chi-square statistical tool at 0.05 level of significance. The major findings are that higher education is significant in exposing the youth to talent discovery, physical and intellectual development among the youth and has high potency reduction for poverty reduction among the youth.

Introduction

The dawn of the 21st century has brought profound and fundamental changes to economics, technology, politics, culture, morals, social values and ethics. Globalization is the driving force in all these changes. While globalization has induced the collapse of time and space, it has also expanded opportunities and challenges for individuals and for nations and has sidelined the weak and unprepared. Anya (2002). The task of the university education will then be to empower the youths to be able to cope with the dynamics of globalization. Consequently the university must have an organic linkage with the industrial and economic environment to contribute to economic growth of the nation.

Education has for long been recognized and accepted as a panacea for Nigeria’s ills and woes. Particularly so is the case of higher education. Stupendous amount of money and other resources, even though inadequate are expended on the universities annually. Unarguably al stakeholders look up to the universities as the nation’s beacon of hope, light and civilization. For this reason, besides over 50 public universities are springing up all over the nooks and crannies of the country (Ejiogu and Onyene, 2006).

Nigeria ‘s philosophy of education is aimed at education that foster the worth and development of the individual, for each individuals sake, and for the general development of the society there is need for empowerment so as to break the chains of poverty for necessary liberation.

Are the Nigerian youths hopeful? Do they see the light? Are they civilized? The quest and agitation for the empowerment of the youth and their liberation through higher education is fast becoming almost hysterical given the often reported cases of incessant strike actions by lecturers, lack or inadequate infrastructures in the universities, brain drain, and so on, within the university system.

Instance abound when university graduates are not employable in the labour market. The situation becomes worrisome and intriguing with the jet-speed rate of opening up of new universities with its attendant alleged unemployment of “unqualified” staff, and stragglers from older universities.

The Concept of Higher Education and Poverty

Higher education means different things to many people, but the purpose is perceived to be the same. It is the type of education that focuses on professionalization, by empowering the partaker of this level of education with skills that are not necessarily the function of formal educational...
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