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A STUDY ON THE EFFECT OF MASSIFICATION ON HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Tertiary education according to the provisions of the National Policy on Education is that education given after-secondary education, in universities, colleges of education and polytechnics in Nigeria. These institutions are owned by either the Federal or State Governments, corporate bodies or individuals. Some Federal bodies have been appointed to approve, supervise and accredit courses in these institutions irrespective of their proprietorship. For the universities, the National Universities Commission (NUC) is in charge while in the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) are in charge of moderating academic programmes respectively. While the first tertiary institution in Nigeria, the Yaba Higher College was founded some seventy five years ago, the university college, Ibadan was opened in 1948 and the first Advanced Teachers College commenced training of teachers in 1962. So the youngest of the three main types of tertiary education is forty-five years old. Nigeria’s being a signatory to world conventions on Education for All gave birth to the National Policy on the Universal Basic Education. With these, all school age children are expected to be in schools and the progressive pupil’s population in both the primary and secondary levels have increased. Rui Yang (2002) reported that Chinese higher education has expanded rapidly over the past decade with gross enrolment rates increasing from 3.4 percent in 1990 to 7.2 percent in 1995 and 11 percent in 2000. Jiangsu one of China’s provinces, is expected to be the first to start the transiting from elite to mass tertiary education. In OECD countries, the proportion of adult with tertiary education almost double between 1975 and 2000 from 22% to 41%. Ocho (2006) observed that most universities and polytechnics especially the Federal and States enroll far more students than the available qualified lecturers, facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, desks reading materials and equipment. Carrying capacity, which is defined as the maximum number of students that an institution can sustain for qualitative education, based on available human and materials resources, have been over shot severally. Of the 25 federal owned universities, 18 were found to have over enrolled and Obe (2007) reported that 13 out of the 19 state universities over enrolled while only one of 7 private universities over enrolled. It was also reported that of the top 10 over crowded universities, Federal has 5 and State has 5. With particular reference to the University of Lagos, the student population increased over the years as indicated below:
1962-130, 1970-2528, 1980 12,365, 1980-12,365, 1990 12,647, 2000 37,683, 2006 37,840. A state owned university was found to have had excess enrolment of 24,628. The trend of massification is no different in polytechnics and colleges of education.
According to UNESCO (1999), significant increases in enrolment are a positive sign of democratization of access. Access to higher education is not only open to those with the classic definition of student i.e. a person of 18-24 years who has entered higher education directly from secondary school or soon thereafter, but is also available to older students who wish to further their education in this era of “lifelong learning”. There are many more students of all ages, social class and calibre. Massification is therefore seen in a positive light because it is a proof of the democratization of access and is no longer elitist. It also leads to greater human capital formation, providing countries with expert human resources needed for development. On a global level, massification seems to be important in this knowledge economy where the two classical pillars of a successful university have been changed to four and are no longer limited to quality teaching and research, but also the ability to innovate and to share knowledge. Creativity has also become very important due to the mass access and demand for higher education. Institutions are becoming more creative and competitive in their bid to attract the best students who usually have a wide variety of institutions and programmes to choose from.
The increasing enrolment in basic education in response to the Education for All campaign, and free and compulsory basic education offered by most African states, have led to marked increases in both primary and secondary enrolment and completion rates. For example, secondary enrolment increased by about 43% from 1999-2004, with about 31 million students enrolled across the African region (UNESCO, 2007). These secondary graduates, in turn, sought admission into the tertiary education sector. However, this increase in demand was more than the institutions could cater for and, by the late 1980s, African higher education was reported to be in crisis (Ajayi et al, 2006). This is because although the higher education sector was fast expanding and developing, most of the countries on the continent were not stable enough to cater for the rapid increase in enrolment. According to Obanya (2004), “studies have linked the crisis to the political and socio-economic contortions that Africa has gone through in the past two decades”. With the continent being racked on every side by armed conflicts, civil wars, economic repressions and poor governance (due to either dictatorial or corrupt leadership), it was extremely difficult for the continent to find its feet in the fast-developing sector of higher education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Tertiary institutions in Nigeria are currently enduring a thunder storm of changes so fundamental that some argue that the very ideas of tertiary education is being challenged. Higher education in Nigeria is in crisis and characterized by the decline in quality of teaching, research, decay in library, infrastructural facilities, equipment in the arts and science laboratories and frustrated human resources. Most importantly, is the problem of democratization – massification of higher education and the ever escalating cost of education, The provisions of the Universal Basic Education (Education for All) which was launched in September, 1999, make for all school aged children to be in the Nigerian classrooms for nine years duration. It is however unfortunate that not much corresponding preparation and provision of resources is made for tertiary level as it is being done for the primary and secondary levels. There is a rapidly increasing number of students in Nigeria’s higher institutions and the trend is now approaching what is common in mass education system elsewhere. As a result of large student numbers, the space requirements of classrooms, lecture theatres; laboratories and workshops are hardly met in over 70% of the tertiary institutions (Okebukola, 2000). Facilities are overstretched thus presenting a recipe for rapid decay in the face of dwindling funds for maintenance. A preliminary report on the state of equipment in workshops and laboratories of tertiary institutions documents a sorry state of affairs in terms of number and operational status. The more worrisome aspect is that the method of delivering courses and the assumptions underpinning these methods remained the same. Many people are entertaining the fear that this increase in student numbers without a corresponding increase in fund and physical facilities may result in a decline in quality. In these days of increased costs and large classes, institutions of higher learning have found it increasingly difficult to cope with large classes and at the same time maintain quality. The teething problem is how to create a system of higher education that balances the twin demands of excellence and mass access. Hence the need for this study to examine massification and quality in tertiary education in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to find out the effect of massification on higher institution in Nigeria, Specifically the study sets out to
1. Find out if class size is an indicator of quality of tertiary education in Nigeria.
2. Ascertain whether quality of teaching is dependent on the adequacy and quality of facilities and infrastructure.
3. Determine lecturer-student ratio and find out how lecturers access their workload.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following research questions were formulated to guide the investigation:
1. What is the ratio of lecturers to students in tertiary institutions in Nigeria?
2. How do lecturers assess their workload?
3. Is there a significant relationship between the availability of facilities infrastructures and quality of teaching in tertiary institution?
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