Nigerian Universities and the Development of Human Resources

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1 Abstract Nigerian Universities and the Development of Human Resources By Dr. A.Y. Abdulkareem Department of Educational Management, University of llorin, Ilorin. The quality and quantity of human resources determine a nation's growth and development. It is the available human resources that mobilize and galvanize other resources for sociological, political, economic scientific and technological development. The development of any society is, therefore, hinged on the development of its human resources. Universities, all over the world, are accepted as the citadel of knowledge and human development. The belief in the efficacy of university education as a panacea to human resource development, and invariably national development has led various governments (regional/state and federal) to engage in the establishment of universities (conventional, agricultural and technological), which have now been proliferated in Nigeria. In addition to the regular programmes offered in these universities, a number of them engage in outreach programmes to provide University education to the people. There is, therefore, the need to investigate the trend of development of human resources in the Nigerian Universities. This paper is a report of a survey carried out on this. The results show that there has been appreciable improvement in the development of human resources in Education, Science and Technology, while the development has been very slow in the areas of Veterinary Medicine and Environment Sciences. Based on the findings of the survey, it is recommended that all and sundry should join hands in the task of developing the universities to be able to cope with the task of developing the nation's human resources. Introduction A nation's growth and development are determined by its human resources (human capital). Non-human resources (physical, material and financial) are to be mobilized and utilized by the available human resources to accomplish the set goals. In fact, it is people those set objectives, determine the resources for use, marshal! the resources appropriately, and coordinate the activities of an organization to achieve the goals. There is no gain-saying the fact that individual's skills and techniques are significant determinants of such person's work performance. These could be acquired through training and development. Furthermore, educational institutions are established to train and develop (that is, educate) human resources for overall individual and national development. The belief in the efficacy of education as a powerful instrument of development has led many nations to commit much of their wealth to the establishment of educational institutions at various levels. Here in Nigeria, governments, organizations, communities and individuals have been involved an this effort It would be recalled that the need to engage human capital at the barest (minimum) cost led the colonial administration to begin to groom the Nigerians under the leadership of the Europeans through Departmental Training Programmes (Fafunwa, 1974). Some of the training institutions established then have today grown into schools, colleges and institutes for training people and awarding certificates and diplomas. In preparation for independence, the dire need for the development of human capital led

2 to the establishment of post-secondary schools and even universities to take care of the demands. By 1992, there were five universities established in Nigeria. These were University of Lagos and University of Ibadan owned by the Federal Government, University of Nigeria, Nsukka owned by the Eastern Region, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) owned by the Western Region, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zarta owned by the Northern Region. There were 42 universities and eight non-university degree awarding institutions in Nigeria in 2000 (see Table I). Universities in Nigeria by Type and Ownership Ownership Agriculture Conventional Technology Total Federal State Private Total Source: Compiled from Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board. (2002). U.M.E Brochure Guidelines for Admissions to First Degree Courses in Nigerian Universities 2001/2002. As shown in Table 1, majority of the universities (about 57.14%) are owned by the Federal Government, while the State Government own about 35.72% of the institutions. Furthermore, majority (that is, about 71.43%) of the universities are conventional type, while about 21.43% of the institutions are purely technology based. This shows the government's commitment to the establishment of towards the development of human resources. In fact, only eight States (that is, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara) out of the 36 States in Nigeria have not established university, while Ogun and Edo State have three Universities-one federal, one state and one private each (JAMB, 2000). Expectedly, as there is increase in the number of universities so also has the population of students in these institutions been growing phenomenally. This has risen from 1,395 in 1960 to 40,000 in 1976 when the Universal Primary Education (UPE) Scheme was introduced, and to 172, 000 in 1988 When the first crop of UPE products entered the universes (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2001). The total student enrolments in federal and state universities {excluding nonregular programme students) presently stand at over 250,00 each year (FRN, 2001). Total Degree, Diploma Certificate Award in Nigeria Year Sub-Degree First Post Total Percentage Degree Graduate Increase 1993/ /95 NA NA NA NA NA 1995/ / / Note: NA: Means data not available. Source: Compiled from the data obtained from the National Universities Commission, Abuja, As shown in Table 2, the total number of degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded in the Nigerian universities (state and federal) increased yearly throughout the period under study. ( ). The first-degree programmes turned out the highest number of graduates throughout the period. Against this background, there is a need to investigate the capacity of universities in

3 training human resources with the view to identifying areas for improvement. Therefore, in this paper attempt has been made to analyse the trends in human resources development in the Nigerian universities based on the award of degrees, diplomas and certificates by the universities. A number of recommendations are made and pertinent issues raised in the paper. Literature Review Education is believed to be the most powerful and dynamic instrument for social, economic, political, scientific and technological development of nations (Olutola, 1983; Fadipe, 2000; Aghenta, 2001). In fact, the belief in the efficacy of education has resulted in increasing commitment of government and various groups to the establishment of educational institutions and hysterical expansion of school enrolment at the various levels of the Nigerian education system. As enunciated by Woodhall (1970), education is universally recognized as a form of investment in human capital, which in turn yields economic benefits and contributes to a country's future wealth by increasing the productive capacity of its people. Universities, all over the word, are accepted as the citadel of knowledge, education and human resource development. The Nigerian University system sprang out of the need for the development of high-level manpower to take the challenge of nation building after independence. It is the hope of the people that the universities shall produce the right type of manpower in sufficient quantity and quality (Fadipe, 2000) for the transformation of the nation from a developing country to a developed country. The curricula or programmes in these universities have witnessed marked transformation' over the years in response to the needs of the Nigeria society and changes in disciplinary knowledge (Okebukola, 1998). For instance, University of llorin (one of the second generation universities), on establishment in September 1975, started with only three Faculties-Arts, Education and Science. Today, the University runs first degree and postgraduate programmes in the Faculties of Agriculture, Arts, Business and Social 'Sciences, Education, Engineering and Technology, Health Sciences and Sciences, and only first degree programmes in the Faculty of Law. The government, in its attempt to encourage the development of science and technology which are fundamental advancement in the country, has evolved a discipline quota of 60:40 of Science to Arts in admission and resource allocation to the universities and all tertiary institutions in the country. As a way of enhancing access of candidates to science-based courses, many universities in Nigeria have established pre-degree science programmes that are basically remedial in nature (UNESCO 1998). As part of Federal Government's effort at ensuring democratization of educational opportunities, especially at the university level, it established the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board to conduct university matriculation examinations and to control admissions into the universities. Furthermore, to ensure quality control and standardization in the universities, Federal Government of Nigeria established the National Universities Commission under Decree No. 1,1974. The Commission acts as a clearing house and a coordinating agency on matter related to all aspects of development, finance and conditions of service in the universities (Aminu, 1986). No doubt, the establishment of universities in Nigeria and expansion of programmes in these universities are based on social and political pressures (Olutola, 1983) rather than economic consideration for manpower needs as suggested by Aghenta (2001). Many students seek admission into the universities to read courses for Which they are not suitable; while many graduates roam about the street without jobs. Methodology A descriptive survey was used in investigating the trends of human resources development in the Nigerian Universities. A self-designed questionnaire titled "Human Resource Development in Nigerian Universities" (HRDNU) was used to collect relevant data from the National Universities Commission, Abuja. Colleagues in the University of llorin and staff of the, NUC validated the questionnaire. The various disciplines offered in the Nigerian Universities were grouped into 12 as shown in Tables 3 and 4. The data collected were analysed using frequency

4 counts and percentages. The research question raised to guide the study is: 'what was the trend of human resources development in the Nigerian universities between 1992 and 1998?" Findings and Discussions Table 3 Table 4 As shown in Tables 3 and 4, the highest number of human resources produced yearly by the Federal Universities throughout the period was in the field of Education, except in 1996/97 when Social Science had the highest with 17.9% of the total; and still followed by Education with 16.8%. It is interesting to note that although the trends in the area of Sciences fluctuated, this discipline still ranked third in the development of human resources in the federal universities throughout the period. This is probably a reflection of the Federal Government's policy, which favours the production of science-based graduates for the nation's development. The Social Sciences ranked second, except in 1996/97 when it ranked first. Furthermore, Veterinary

5 Medicine, as a discipline, constantly had the least products (between 0.3% and 0.5%), followed by Pharmacy (between 0.7% and 0.9%) in the federal universities throughout the period. As shown in Tables 3 and 4, the trend in human resources development in state universities was not too different from the pattern observed in the federal universities. The highest number of products was recorded in Education, except in 1995/96 and 1997/98, when Social Sciences took the lead with 5.6% and 5.5% respectively. Arts, as a discipline, maintained the second position, except in 1995/96 and 1996/1997. The number, however, fluctuated between 1.6% and 2.4% in the area of Science which made the discipline to rank third in 1992/93 and 1993/94, fourth in 1996/97, and fifth in 1995/96 and 1997/98. Furthermore, the trend shows that Medicine had the least number in human resources development (0.1% constantly) in the state universities throughout the period. This was followed by Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, which ranked second and third respectively. Although, Education, as a discipline seems to have been producing a large number of graduates, not all the graduates have interest in becoming teachers (Abdulkareem, 1992). Furthermore, many products of the post-graduate diploma in Education are compelled to take the programme by the demands of their jobs. Conclusion and Recommendations The number of universities has increased phenomenally over the years in Nigeria in order to take care of the human resource capacity needs of the nation. There has been appreciable improvement in the development of human resources in Science and Technology disciplines, especially in the federal universities. This is probably in anticipation of the much-needed development in the country. However, the resources (human, physical, material and financial) needed by the universities are far less than those available. This is probably why the institutions have been witnessing incessant strikes by their staff in order to demand for improvement. There is no gain-saying the fact that many Nigerians obtain degrees, diplomas and certificates in disciplines not particularly; required by the economy, and invariably end up without jobs or with jobs not related to their academic training. This reduces the efficiency of the educational system. There is, therefore, the need to make the system more relevant to the development of the human resources. This is required for the nation's development. The task of national development is enormous and should not be the exclusive responsibility of the government. Furthermore, the development of the nation's universities for human resources development should be a joint responsibility: of the government at all levels, professional organisations, religious organisations, alumni, communities, industrial organisations, individuals, and the educational institutions through their management efforts. References Abdulkareem, A.Y. (1992). Issues in Nigeria education, llorin: Ibrahim Kewulere. Adesina, S. (1984). Growth without development. (The Inaugural Lectures), llorin: University of llorin. Aghenta, J.A. (2000). Educational planning: A turning point in Education and development in Nigeria. (Inaugural Lecture Series 58). Benin City: University of Benin. Aminu, J. (1986). Quality & stress in Nigeria education. Maiduguri and Zaira: University of Maiduguri and Northern Nigerian Publishing Company. Fadipe, J.O. (2000). Education for national development: The millennium option. In J.O. Fadipe & E.E. Oluchkwu (Eds.), Educational Planning and Administration in Nigeria in the 21st Century. (PP ). Nigeria: NIEPA Fafunwa, A.B. (1974). History of education in Nigeria. London: George Alien & Unwins. Federal Republic if Nigeria. (1989). National policy on education (Revised). Lagos: NERDC. Federal Republic of Nigeria. (Jan., 2001). Manual on university management. Abuja: NUC. Joint Admission and Matriculations Board. (2000). U.M.E. brochure guidelines for admissions to first degree courses in Nigerian Universities 2001/2002 session. Abuja: Author. Okebukola, P. (1998). The mission and vision of universities in Nigeria: Expectation for the twenty first

6 century. In K. Isyaku, MAG. Akale, A.A. Maiyanga, & M. Olokun (Eds.), Vision and mission of education in Nigeria: The Challenge of the 21st century (pp ). Kaduna. NCCE. Olutola, A.D. (1983). Cosmetic policies and the challenge of education for national development. (The Inaugural Lectures), llorin: University of llorin. UNESCO. (1998). The state of education in Nigeria. Lagos: Author. Woodhall, M. (1970). Cost-Benefit analysis in education Planning. Paris: UNESCO, HEP. 141

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