AN EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECTS OF MASSIFICATION ON HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Tertiary education, as defined by the National Policy on Education, is education provided beyond secondary school in Nigeria’s universities, colleges of education, and polytechnics (Rui, 2001). The federal and state governments, corporations, and people all own these organizations. Regardless of ownership, several Federal agencies have been appointed to oversee, supervise, and accredit courses in these schools. The National Universities Commission (NUC) is in charge of universities, while the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) are in charge of polytechnics and colleges of education, respectively. While the Yaba Higher College, Nigeria’s oldest postsecondary school, was established seventy-five years ago, the university college in Ibadan was established in 1948, and the first Advanced Teachers College began teacher training in 1962. So the youngest of the three major categories of higher education is 45 years old. The National Policy on Universal Basic Education was born as a result of Nigeria’s signing of international treaties on education for all. With this, all school-aged children are obliged to attend school, and the number of progressive students in both primary and secondary schools has grown. According to Yang (2002), Chinese higher education has grown rapidly in the last decade, with gross enrolment rates rising from 3.4 percent in 1990 to 7.2 percent in 1995 and 11% in 2000. One of China’s provinces, Jiangsu, is likely to be the first to go from elite to mainstream tertiary education. Between 1975 and 2000, the number of adults with a postsecondary education nearly doubled in OECD nations, rising from 22% to 41%. According to Ocho (2006), most universities and polytechnics, particularly those at the federal and state levels, enroll considerably more students than there are competent lecturers, classrooms, labs, tables, reading materials, and equipment. Carrying capacity, defined as the greatest number of students an institution can support for quality education based on available human and material resources, has been exceeded on multiple occasions (Ogbonna, 2002). Obe (2007) stated that 18 of the 25 federally controlled colleges had overenrolled, and 13 of the 19 state universities had overenrolled, while just one of the seven private institutions had overenrolled. Federal and state universities each have five of the top ten overcrowded universities, according to the survey. With special reference to the University of Lagos, the student population has grown through time as seen below: 1962-130, 1970-2528, 1980 12,365, 1980-12,365, 1990 12,647, 2000 37,683, 2006 37,840, 1962-130, 1970-2528, 1980 12,365, 1980-12,365, 1990 12,647, 2000 37,683, 2006 37,840. A state-owned institution was discovered to have an excess of 24,628 students. In polytechnics and colleges of education, the tendency of massification is no different. Significant gains in enrolment, according to UNESCO (1999), are a positive indicator of access democratization. Higher education is not only open to individuals who fit the traditional definition of student, i.e., a person aged 18 to 24 who has come immediately from secondary school or shortly thereafter, but it is also open to older students who choose to continue their education in this era of “lifelong learning.” There are many more pupils of different ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and academic abilities. As a result, massification is viewed positively since it demonstrates the democratization of access and is no longer elitist (Uduak, 2006). It also leads to increased human capital generation, which provides countries with the professional people resources they require to develop. On a worldwide scale, massification appears to be vital in this knowledge economy, where the two traditional pillars of a successful institution have been replaced by four, which include not just outstanding teaching and research, but also the capacity to innovate and share information. Because of the widespread availability and desire for higher education, creativity has become increasingly crucial. In order to attract the brightest students, schools are getting more inventive and competitive. Students often have a wide range of institutions and programs to pick from. Increased enrolment in basic education as a result of the Education for All campaign, as well as free and compulsory basic education in most African states, has resulted in significant increases in primary and secondary enrolment and completion rates. For example, between 1999 and 2004, secondary enrolment climbed by nearly 43% across Africa, with about 31 million pupils enrolled (UNESCO, 2007). These secondary school graduates then sought entrance to university institutions. However, the surge in demand outstripped the capacity of the institutions, and by the late 1980s, African higher education was said to be in crisis (Ajayi, 2006). This is because, despite the fact that the higher education sector was rapidly expanding and improving, the majority of African countries were not stable enough to accommodate the rapid growth in enrolment. “Studies have connected the crisis to the political and socio-economic contortions that Africa has gone through in the last two decades,” writes Obanya (2004). Armed conflicts, civil wars, economic repressions, and bad administration (due to either autocratic or corrupt leadership) plagued the continent on all sides, making it exceedingly difficult for the continent to establish itself in the fast-growing field of higher education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, higher institutions are undergoing a storm of changes so profound that some believe that the basic notions of tertiary education are being challenged. Higher education in Nigeria is in crisis, characterized by a deterioration in teaching quality, research, library degradation, infrastructural facilities, arts and science laboratory equipment, and dissatisfied human resources. The problem of democratization – the massification of higher education and the ever-increasing expense of education – is the most pressing concern. The terms of the Universal Basic Education (Education for All) program, which began in September 1999, mandate that all school-aged children in Nigeria spend nine years in classrooms (Timi, 2002). Unfortunately, not as much preparation and resource allocation is undertaken for the tertiary level as it is for the elementary and secondary levels. The number of students enrolled in Nigeria’s higher education institutions is fast expanding, and the trend is currently nearing that of other countries’ mass education systems. Because of the enormous number of students, the space requirements for classrooms, lecture halls, labs, and workshops are seldom satisfied in more than 70% of tertiary institutions (Okebukola, 2000). Facilities are overburdened, posing a risk of fast deterioration in the face of limited maintenance money. A preliminary evaluation on the quality of equipment in tertiary institutions’ workshops and labs reveals a dismal state of affairs in terms of quantity and operational status. Worse, the manner of providing courses, as well as the assumptions that drive these procedures, remained unchanged. Many individuals worry that a rise in student numbers without a matching increase in funds and physical facilities would lead to a drop in quality. Institutions of higher learning have found it more challenging to manage with huge courses while maintaining quality in these days of rising prices and enormous classes (Ezinne, 2004). The initial challenge is figuring out how to build a higher education system that satisfies the dual goals of excellence and accessibility. As a result, there is a need for this research to look at massification and quality in Nigerian tertiary education.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major goal of this study is to determine the impact of massification on higher education in Nigeria. More specifically, the study aims to:
i. Determine if class size is an indication of tertiary education quality in Nigeria.
ii. Determine if the adequacy and quality of facilities and infrastructure affect the quality of instruction.
iii. Determine the lecturer-to-student ratio and learn how lecturers manage their time.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- How can class size be determined is an indication of tertiary education quality in Nigeria?
ii. How can adequacy and quality of facilities and infrastructure affect the quality of instruction?
iii. What is the lecturer-to-student ratio and how do lecturers manage their time?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is important for the government, policymakers, and secondary school administrators since it identifies the impacts of higher education massification in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This survey was intended to include all secondary schools in the country, but owing to time restrictions and other factors, it was confined to a selection of a few Loal Government areas in Kogi.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The main challenges encountered throughout this investigation were a lack of time and funds to get access to the stakeholders involved.