Pragmatic Management And The Success Of Nigerian Tertiary In The 21ST Century Hakeem ‘Bola Adekola, Ph.D
Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye
INTRODUCTION The Nigerian tertiary education system consists of universities, Polytechnics, Monotechnics, Colleges of Education and research institutes. Education is regarded by Nigerians as it is in other parts of the world, as the main instrument for social, political and economic development of the nation. The tertiary education in Nigeria is large and complex, rivalled in size by only South Africa. The system displays considerable diversity, thereby defying the binary division found within most of the systems in African countries especially those colonised by the British. However, it retains certain binary features in the sense that Universities award primarily Degrees, while other higher Institutions award only Diplomas and Certificates. However, this binary distinction is beginning to disappear because some Polytechnics have been legally authorised to award Degrees. The system display little interaction between Universities and Non-University Institutions. Of the 104 Universities in Nigeria, 45 are owned by Private Organisations and Individuals while the rest are owned by Federal and State Governments. This is about 43.2 percent. The situation is worse in the Polytechnics where just ten of the many Polytechnics are privately owned. The federal and State Governments also own other specialised institutions like Colleges of Educations, Nursing as well as Technical Schools. When it comes to enrolment however, the Public Institutions have over 98 percent of the entire population of registered students. This preponderance in student enrolment in the State funded higher institutions show that more Nigerians still prefer them over the Private Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Educations. This can however be explained in terms of affordability rather than in the confidence reposed in the quality of education in the state funded institutions. In Nigeria, three separate supervisory bodies share the responsibilities for the monitoring standard of tertiary education. These are the National Universities Commission (NUC) for the Universities, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for the Polytechnics and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) for the Colleges of Education. Professional Courses like Nursing, Law, Pharmacy, Medicine, Engineering, Accounting etcetera are however still monitored by their various professional bodies to regulate standard and ensure uniformity in the training of the Professionals in their respective fields. Oni (1996) opines that Nation-States invest in university education (and by implication, tertiary education) because society expects it to contribute to national development in three principal ways. In the first place, society expects its university to produce the highly skilled personnel in technology, engineering, management and other professions. Secondly, universities have the responsibility of producing their own corps of academic personnel that is, the intellectual resource pool that will, through scientific research generate new knowledge and innovation to solve development problems. Thirdly, universities produce the teachers, administrators and managers for other levels of human resources development institutions. A university is able to perform these complementary roles if it has the necessary financial resources, equipment, and libraries operate in an environment that is conducive to academic work. The environment that Rader describes for the US is similar to that in Nigeria, with a demand for accountability, doing more with less, and an expanding demand for distance learning.
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