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Globalization and the Political Economy of Higher Education in Nigeria

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In this paper I contend that globalization has a profound effect on the political economy of higher education in Nigeria. Globalization as a phenomenon is hardly new, although more people are conscious of living in a global world today than was the
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  Globalization and the Political Economy of Higher Education in Nigeria Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okomearnegie !frican "ia#$ora %ello& 'ni(er#ity of )badan* "e$artment of Political +cienceProfe##or of Political +cience,eonard - laire .o& Profe##or* /0123/0145rooklyn ollege* 'N6* '+! .hi# $a$er &a# srcinally $re#ented at the !nnual Meeting of the !frican +tudie# !##ociation* 7a#hington* "88 "ecember 29:* /00/8 )t &a# re(i#ed and u$dated in ;une /0128 Introduction 7e li(e in a ra$idly changing* global &orld &here the local and global are ine<tricably linked8 "ue to inno(ation# in communication# technology and con#e=uent e<traordinary increa#e# in trade* >nancial ?o&#* and the idea# that #ha$e &hat &e think and ho& &e think* &e li(e in both a totally interconnected &orld and a radically di#connected &orld@a $roce## ) ha(e de#cribed a# full of antinomie#8 .hu#* NigeriaA# higher educational in#titution# are enme#hed in (ibrant and e(er9changing relation# &ith their $eer# all o(er the &orld* and they may at the (ery #ame time be di#connected from them in #$ite of globalizationA# $re#umed homogenizing force8 .hi# i# becau#e #ome indi(idual# or fraction# of the Nigerian academy may be totally connected &hile other# ha(e not been able to connect8 !l#o* many #cholar# are engaged in cutting edge* &orld cla## re#earch* and many more are not8 Many ha(e $ubli#hed and are recognized &orld&ide8 Majority ha(e $ubli#hed only locally* and are not yet recognized out#ide Nigeria8 .hi# i# not unu#ual if under#tood &ithin the frame&ork of antinomie#8 )n thi# $a$er ) contend that globalization ha# a $rofound eBect on the $olitical economy of higher education in Nigeria8 Globalization a# a $henomenon i# hardly ne&* although more $eo$le are con#ciou# of li(ing in aglobal &orld today than &a# the ca#e in $a#t era# of hi#tory8 Hi#torically then* ) #ee higher education a# #ha$ed by both local and global $olitical* economic and #ocial force#8 Higher education in turn* $rofoundly #ha$e# the $roce## of globalization #ince it i# the arena &ithin &hich idea# are $roduced*debated* decon#tructed and recon#tructed8 )dea# them#el(e# ha(e e$i#temic $o&er* and the $roduction of kno&ledge i# ine<tricably linked &ith 1 | Page  the manner in &hich human# under#tand and gi(e meaning to their li(ed realitie#8My =ue#t in thi# $a$er i# informed by the mi##ion and (i#ion e<$re##ed by the founder# of the 'ni(er#ity ollege* )badan* for &hom it# $rimary role &a# to be NigeriaA# $remier uni(er#ity C&hich &ould ha(e a national outlook and &hich &ould bear un?inching allegiance to re#earch* training* and #er(iceD Faji9Oyelade* et al8 /010* 18 .he founder# of the uni(er#ity &ere committed to academic e<cellence* and al#o &anted learning and teaching tooccur in a #erene and organized en(ironment Faji9Oyelade* et al8 /0108 !# an alumna of ')* ) bene>tted from the#e #entiment# becau#e ) had an education that $re$ared me to engage the &orld and com$ete &ith colleague# in #ome of the &orldA# be#t uni(er#itie# a# #tudent and teacher8 ) &a# al#o e=ui$$ed &ith tremendou# con>dence and to$ notch &ork ethic8 ) e<$ect a lot >r#t from my#elf* and then from the $eo$le and in#titution# that )engage8 ,etA# con#ider &hether ') i# li(ing u$ to the#e ideal# and ful>lling it#mi##ion in #uch a &ay a# to im$act our &orld* beginning &ith it# o&n community and terrain* and then* our country* &hich at the current time i# once again facing the $redicament of budget and leader#hi$ cri#e# and ram$ant di#illu#ionment8 !lthough the unending =ue#t for kno&ledge i# &orthy of being the $rimary goal of education* becau#e kno&ledge in and of it#elf i# of #uch #ingular im$ortance to humanity that &e donAt need to concoct rea#on# for it# centrality to the mi##ion of educational in#titution#* one can al#o claim that to be truly meaningful* higher education ha# to be connected &ith human and national de(elo$ment $rioritie#8 .hu#* a# Nigerian# &ho are concerned about our countryA# realization of it# full $otential* at thi# &ater#hed moment in our countryA# hi#tory* itA# a$$ro$riate to con#ider &hat NigeriaA# national de(elo$ment $rioritie# are and &hether there i# a coincidence bet&een themand the $ur$o#e of education8 )f there i# no connection or if the connection i# $oor* &e #hould &ant to kno& &hy and it i# nece##ary to gi(e #ome thought to the remedie# that may be a$$ro$riate and eBecti(e8 !# &ell* higher education #hould be connected &ith human de(elo$ment that goe# beyond $re$aring $eo$le to engage the economy a# factor# of $roduction8 )t #hould hel$ $eo$le to de(elo$ the ca$acity to think more dee$ly* #tri(e for more kno&ledge* think out#ide the bo<* and #tri(e for e<cellence in the $roduction of kno&ledge and it# a$$lication to #ol(e human $roblem#8 .hu#* the $a$er al#o take# the $o#ition that education i# ine<tricably connected &ith both human de(elo$ment and national de(elo$ment8 .he $a$er conclude# that matter# of higher education* being de>ned a# a critical a#$ectof national intere#t* mu#t re?ect the collecti(e (i#ion of ad(ance# that Nigeria &ant# to make in the /1#t entury and ho& it aim# to get there8 )f education i# dee$ly connected &ith human and national de(elo$ment* &e #hould #ee education a# a matter of national #ecurity8 Nothing e<$re##e# 2 | Page  that #entiment better than the &ay in &hich the budget allocate# re#ource#8 )f education i# con#idered im$ortant in Nigeria* the $ercentage in federal* #tate and local go(ernment budget# de(oted to education #hould be #ub#tantial and #igni>cant8 Ho&e(er* the national budget in Nigeria doe# notre?ect that the country care# in any kind of #igni>cant &ay* about education8!$$ro<imately 108IJ of the /01K budget &a# de(oted to education8 Ho&e(er* Prof8 Okebukola* former E<ecuti(e +ecretary of the National 'ni(er#itie# ommi##ion con#ider# go(ernment funding on education a# clo#er to /2J &hen one factor# in #$ending by #tate and local go(ernment#* but he al#o recommend# a 0J #$ending le(el for the ne<t /0 year# to correct the $roblem# in the educational #y#tem8 )t i# hard to #ynchronize the /2J >gure &ith the #tate of NigeriaA# educational in#titution#* a factor that Okebukola attribute# to Cleakage#D !tueyi /0128  .he main i##ue# engaged in the $a$er includeL •  .he $ur$o#e of higher education* broadly de#cribed • Pur$o#e of Nigerian Higher Education* including 'ni(er#ity of )badan8 • 7hat ought to be done What is the purpose of Higher Education? once$tually* much ink ha# been #$illed and many more &ord# #cattered to the &ind o(er the cour#e of human hi#tory about the $ur$o#e of higher education8 )t i# al#o im$ortant* gi(en the embrace of the cor$orate model in higher education and the (alorization of entre$reneur#hi$* to realize that education i# central to national intere#t* and cannot be #olely determined by market force#8 .hu#* the role of the #tate in making education $olicy* and funding education cannot be o(erem$ha#ized8 !l#o* educational in#titution# and $er#onnel cannot be by#tander# in thi# di#cu##ion8 .hey ought to $artici$ate in conce$tualization* framing and $ro(iding the #caBolding that enable# u# tounder#tand the $ur$o#e of education* it# $otential contribution# to human and national de(elo$ment* and ho& be#t to connect education the mean# to national de(elo$ment the end8 .o do thi# #ucce##fully* higher educational in#titution# mu#t be &ell9re#ourced a# &ell a# autonomou#8 +ome of the#e re#ource# &ould nece##arily be deri(ed from the #tate8 Higher educational in#titution# mu#t al#o be nimble and creati(e* bold and tenaciou# committed to e<cellence and dedicated to the $ur#uit of truth* regardle## of &here it lead#8 .o &hat e<tent do our Nigerian higher educational in#titution# >t thi# bill .o &hat e<tent i# ') a leading light in thi#eBort 3 | Page   .he $ur$o#e of higher education ha# been con#idered by #cholar# for time immemorial8 on(entionally* it# $ur$o#e include# the creation* $rogre##ion* ab#or$tion and di##emination of kno&ledge8 5ut higher education ha# both ab#tract and $ractical im$lication#8 )n the ab#tract* the creation of kno&ledge it#elf i# an in(i#ible $roce## but it i# e<$ected to generate $ractical re#ult#8 %or e<am$le* it may not be far9fetched to belie(e that higher education ought to contribute to the ra$id indu#trialization in a country that direly need# it #uch a# Nigeria8 %undamentally* it al#o ought to contribute to the de(elo$ment of higher order cogniti(e and communication #kill#* &here it train# $eo$le to de(elo$ logical thinking ca$acity that enable#them to challenge recei(ed kno&ledge and the #tatu# =uo8 )t #hould engender the de#ire to harne## and de$loy #o$hi#ticated (alue# and i# al#o e<$ected* $articularly for late de(elo$ing nation#* and u#ing neoliberal $rinci$le# to deli(er training for $rofe##ional and (ocational #kill# ac=ui#ition8 .hi# indicate# that there i# a central ten#ion bet&een education a# a $ublic good and education a# $ri(ate bene>t8  .here i# al#o a ten#ion bet&een education for character de(elo$ment and education for career de(elo$ment8 .he#e goal# are not nece##arily mutually e<clu#i(e8 .he former mean# that &e are able to train and moti(ate bright* imaginati(e* creati(e and $roducti(e $eo$le &ho are able to think out#ide the bo<* em$athize &ith their fello& human being#* contribute to the $roduction of kno&ledge and enhance the human ca$ital at the di#$o#al of the &orld at large8 )n term# of the latter* it deli(er# com$etiti(e #kill# that enable it# con#umer# to ac=uire good job#8 '#ing the &ord Ccon#umer#D rai#e# the #$ecter of higher education a# a bu#ine## and bring# u$ criti=ue# of neoliberal model# of higher education a# too focu#ed on the cold* calculated e<change of ca#h for kno&ledge* the intru#ion of the $ro>t model into &hat ought to be a #ingular dedication to the $ur#uit of kno&ledge* and con#e=uent de?ection from the $rimary $ur$o#e of education8 +hould the uni(er#ity not be concerned about it# #ur(i(al in a &orld &here re#ource# are >nite* e(en #carce* and &here there are #alarie# to $ay* infra#tructure to maintain and re#earch to be funded 7ho #hould bear the co#t .o my mind* &hile it i# acce$table and e(en de#irable to ha(e $ri(ate educational in#titution#* the #tate ha# $rimary re#$on#ibility for en#uring the $ro(i#ion of acce## to education8 )t al#o ha# the re#$on#ibility of en#uring =uality control8 .he eBort #hould be to maintain the highe#t $o##ible #tandard#* and the ta#k i# e(en more urgent in a de(elo$ing country like Nigeria* gi(en the #igni>cance of en#uring both the $roduction of kno&ledge for it# o&n #ake* and al#o of $roducing the $eo$le &ho &ould lead the eBort# of making* admini#tering and managing $olicie#8 )f thereA# anything to under#tand about globalization* it i# that the &orld i# increa#ingly com$etiti(e and Nigeria mu#t be able to not only co$e &ith the challenge#* but e<cel8 .he#e objecti(e# cannot be achie(ed &ithout 4 | Page  $ri(ileging education and embracing the a##um$tion that education i# a# im$ortant a# national #ecurity8 )t i# al#o fooli#h for a country like Nigeria to allo& it#elf to be hood&inked into thinking that higher education i# a lu<ury and ba#ic education i# #ucient8 Ha# any country been kno&n to become a &orld $o&er by taking #uch a $o#ition %ortino de>ne# a# the central $ur$o#e of education* Cthe creation of $re$aredmind#D %ortino /01*D and concei(e# of education a# oBering a C#mart #tartD to it# con#umer#8 Education i# al#o &idely con#idered a# the a(enue too$ening door# of o$$ortunity that lead to #ucce##* achie(ement* u$&ard mobility* and ful>lment8 !# &ell* education could contribute to the $romotionof ci(ic engagement and citizen#hi$8 )t i# &idely con#idered to ha(e the ca$acity to $re$are $eo$le to become good human being#8 E##entially* &ith acce## to higher education* $eo$le #hould be able to truly kno& them#el(e#* under#tand their $lace in the &orld* and al#o be gi(en the con>dence to challenge e<i#ting orthodo<ie# in the intere#t of humanity8  .hey #hould be gi(en the ca$acity to better under#tand the &orld they li(e in* identify the $roblem# therein and u#e their intellectual ca$acity to en(i#ion a better &orld* $lu# in#$ire other# to #hare thi# (i#ion and &ork to&ard# it# accom$li#hment8 What is the purpose of Nigerian Higher Education? Nigeria currently ha# o(er ninety uni(er#itie#* although the N' only li#t# forty9>(e8 .he#e uni(er#itie# are both $ublic and $ri(ate8 +ome are e#tabli#hed by religiou# organization# and other# #ecular8 ) look u$on the gro&ing terrain of Nigerian higher education &ith both tre$idation at the di#mal #tate of many of our in#titution# of higher learning* mo#t ob(iou#ly in term# of the $hy#ical infra#tructure* and more #ubliminally in term# of the di#connect bet&een mo#t of our uni(er#itie# and their core mi##ion8 Gi(en the de(a#tation that befell our in#titution# of learning in the locu#t year# de#cribed by the 7orld 5ank a# Cthe lo#t decadeD from the mid91:0# to the 10#* mo#t analy#e# of higher education in Nigeria e<$lain the hi#tory* cau#e# of decline and #trategie# for re(i(al by focu#ing u$on the inade=uacy of go(ernment funding* the abandonment of the uni(er#itie# and e(en Nigeria by the intelligent#ia and by the #tudent# that are mo#t >nancially able to do #o* the ob(iou# infra#tructural decay* falling academic #tandard#* and the $oliticization of education8 )n an eBort to #tem the hemorrhage* early in the millennium* the %ederal Go(ernment of Nigeria and the 7orld 5ank negotiated a loan to re(italize Nigerian higher education* $arado<ically after the (ery #ame 7orld 5ank contributed to the defunding of higher education (ia it# recommendation in the 5erg Fe$ort that !frican countrie# #hould concentrate on $rimary education becau#e tertiary education i# a lu<ury8 .he arnegie* %ord* Fockefeller and Mac!rthur foundation# al#o 5 | Page
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