Student Unrest in Nigerian Universities

Topics: University, Education, Nigeria Pages: 12 (4116 words) Published: August 12, 2010
© Kamla-Raj 2005

J. Soc. Sci., 10(1): 17-22 (2005)

Student Unrest in Nigerian Universities: Looking Back and Forward Oyaziwo Aluede, Basil Jimoh, Beatrice O. Agwinede and Eunice O. Omoregie Department of Educational Foundations, Ambrose Alli University, P.M.B. 14, Ekpoma 310001, Ekpoma, Nigeria E-mail: KEYWORDS Student unrest; student services; student personnel administration; universities ABSTRACT The authors examined the policies and factors that have in the past and at the present precipitated student unrest in Nigerian university campuses. Predictions about the policies that are likely to produce student protest in Nigerian university campuses in the near future are advanced.

Nigerian higher educational institution is established with the aim of giving any student who enrolls, a very sound and qualitative education, to be able to function effectively in any environment in which he/she may find him/ herself; so as to become more productive, selffulfilling and attain self-actualization (Federal Government of Nigeria, 1981). Under the Nigerian Policy on Education of 1977, revised in 1981, higher education aims at: (a) the acquisition development and inculcation of the proper value – orientation for the survival of the individual and society; (b) the development of the intellectual capacities of individuals to understand and appreciate their environments; (c) the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to develop into careful members of the community; and (d) the acquisition of an objective view of the local and external environment (Fafunwa, 1991). Specifically, Nigerian universities are expected to pursue the above mentioned goals through: (i) teaching, (ii) research, (iii) dissemination of existing and new information (especially through publication); and (iv) the pursuit of service to the community and being a store house of knowledge (Fafunwa, 1991; Federal Government of Nigeria, 1981). Despite the above stipulations, research (i.e., Akinade, 1993; Aluede and Aluede 1999; Aluede, 2000; Ehiametalor, 1979; Nwokwule, 1992; Tawari, 1986; Yalokwu, 1992) does indicate that many of Nigerian universities are finding it increasingly

difficult to achieve the highlighted goals because of the many attendant problems that they are made to face. These difficulties are largely due to the problems which students who enroll these institutions either face or cause irrespective of their home backgrounds (Tawari, 1986). These problems make students’ life within and outside Nigerian university campuses, frequently a traumatic experience; which is the major reason why students of various Nigerian university campuses frequently demand an overhaul of the entire system (Tawari, 1986). Today, in Nigeria, students’ militancy in the Nigerian universities has come to be recognised as one of the most visible perennial problems of significance when compared with other social vices in Nigeria university campuses like campus cult activities, cases of examination malpractices, and drug abuse and addiction. Such that in the history of Nigeria, no group has established itself more in terms in frequency and intensity of such violent incidents as the student population. Hence, unrest is proving to be one of the most ubiquitous single factors characterizing these members of the society (Nwokwule, 1992). The intent of this paper is threefold: (a) to state the issues that had in the past precipitated student unrest in Nigeria; (b) current issues in student unrest; and (c) issues that are likely to generate student unrest in Nigerian universities in the near future. PAST ISSUES IN NIGERIAN STUDENT UNREST In Nigeria, cases of student unrest were



reported as far back as 1945. Ezera 1960 (as cited in Onwuejeogwu, 1991) posits that between 1940 and 1945, the West Africa Students Union (WASU) had...

References: Akinade, E. A. 1993. “Guidance and Counselling Strategies for Preventing or Controlling Students Activism in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions”. pp 130 - 138. in O. Animba, D. Denga and P. F. Omoluabi (eds.), An Appraisal of Student Unrest in Nigeria. Enugu, Nigeria: AB/C Publishers. Aluede, O. O. 1995. Factors Influencing Student Unrest in Tertiary Institutions in Edo State of Nigeria. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria. Aluede, O.O. 1996. “Counselling intervention strategies
benefits of democracy in the larger community and would believe that an extension of that to the university campuses will afford them an opportunity to reap from the dividends of democracy. With the ever-increasing enrollment of students in Nigerian universities and the increase in the number of universities from only six in 1970 to fifty-three in 2003, the potential base of student’s power has expanded to an unprecedented level. In addition, with the increase in students’ enrolment in Nigerian universities, essentially due to the proliferation of admission policies and introduction of diploma and predegree courses (which originally are not the statutory responsibilities of the universities), the campuses now witness the presence of several adolescents many of them are most of the time experiencing adolescent crisis (Nwokwule, 1992), usually translated in violent protests against superior significant others Over education and underemployment of university graduates is likely to generate student unrest in Nigerian university campuses in the near future. In the past, acquiring a university degree meant automatic employment at any level in the Nigerian public service. Such employment attracted better incentives like car loans and housing loan (which were to be repaid over a very long period with very minimal interest rate), annual overseas holidays for self and family, medical services for self and family, etc. In Nigeria today, acquiring a university degree no longer guarantees any gainful and attractive position in the public service. More perplexing is the newly introduced National Poverty Alleviation Scheme by the Federal Government of Nigeria, where by graduates are employed on a monthly salary of ten thousand Naira only (N10, 000.00) which is the salary a clerical assistant (secondary school certificate holder) earns in the public service. Even at that, this employment is usually for two years only. The question often asked is what becomes of the graduate at the expiration of the two years contract. Thus, being over educated or underemployed, which is a prevailing condition could culminate into a full-fledged outburst in Nigerian university campuses. Potential issues that would likely to generate student unrest in Nigerian universities in the near future are increased involvement of the Nigerian government in peacekeeping missions abroad. Students believe that a lot of national resources are being wasted in supporting /sponsoring
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