Privatization of University Education and Quality Service Delivery in Southwest Nigeria

Privatization of University Education and Quality Service Delivery in Southwest Nigeria

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Project Topic and Material on Privatization of University Education and Quality Service Delivery in Southwest Nigeria

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This study was undertaken to investigate privatization of university education and quality service    deli very in South-West Nigeria. It was meant to assess the essence of privatization of university education and to ascertain the impact of adequate and modern facilities, coupled with quality teaching personnel on the quality of education and the mode of their service delivery in south-west Nigeria.  Six research questions were formulated to guide the study. A descriptive survey design was adopted for the study and the data collection was validated questionnaire. The study population sample was drawn from two private universities in Lagos and Ogun state.  This study was made up of 100 students. The research questions that guided this study also formed the basis for the 4-item close-ended questionnaire that was administered. Section A contains personal data that differs among categories of respondents, while section B contains similar question items with little difference. The data gathered were analyzed qualitatively using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 The findings from the analysis therefore   shows that quality of teaching personnel has great influence   on the quality of education ,coupled with adequate and modern facilities which has positive influence on education.



Background to the study      

Universities all over the world are accepted as the citadel of learning and development of human resources. According to Subair (2008), the entire intellectual and professional life of a country depends on sound higher education, especially university education that provides quality products (graduates) of international standard. The Nigerian university system sprang out of the need for the development of a high level workforce to take the challenge of nation building after independent (Fadipe, 2000).

Higher education in general, which could be professional or technical education, in particular; plays vital roles in the economic and social development of a country. It provides a wide range of increasingly sophisticated and ever -changing variety of trained manpower needed in education, engineering, medicine, agriculture, management, communication, etc. It produces researchers, who, through their activities, deepen and extend frontiers of scientific and technical knowledge leading to innovations which energize engines of economic growth and development. Apart from developing human resources, higher education turns out thinkers who reflect on critical problem that affect humanity and thereby ensure its survival and development and growth. Thus, the single most important indicator of the nation’s future can be said to be the state of its higher education. Universities are therefore identified as critical engines for socio-economic and political development. Universities have become a primary locus for innovation, expanding the pool of high calibre manpower to address the challenges of under-development. In Nigeria, education is however seen as an instrument for development and national integration. According to the National Policy on Education (FGN 2004), the teaching and research functions of higher educational institutions have an important role to play in national development particularly in development of high level manpower.

Specifically, the aims of higher education in Nigeria as articulated in the NPE include:

(a) The acquisition, development and inculcation of the proper value-orientation for the survival of individual and society.

(b) The development of intellectual capacities of individuals to understand and appreciate their environment.

(c) The acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which enable individuals to develop into useful members of the community.

(d) The acquisition of an objective view of the local and external environments.

The policy further states that higher educational institutions should pursue their goals, through, teaching, research, the disseminating of existing and new information.

The exponential expansion of the university system since the 1980’s amidst complaints of dwindling standards led the federal government to adopt measures designed to control the quality of education. Some of these measures include: the closure to outreach centers or satellite campuses, introduction of rigid entry requirements such as the post JAMB aptitude test, unduly long duration of programmes and the transfer of regulations of regular programmes to distance learning Programme. The Federal Government has embarked on some forward-looking policies to reform the University System. In March 2002, a National Summit on Higher Education was held to examine the management, funding curriculum relevance and access into universities. There is a mass evidence to show that  the existing curriculum is not only defective, but  also lacks quality. The NUC accreditation exercise in 2000 showed that, out of 1,185 academic programmes, only 11% were given full accreditation (NUC, 2001). Besides, the requirements to run universities according to private sector principles and the dominance of managerial and entrepreneurial approaches to higher education have occupied the centre stage in educational management. What has become fashionable in Universities around the world is a shift from basic to applied research, with emphasis on the nexus between education and the economy, and greater concern with issues of intellectual property rights and the prioritization of research for product development and commercialization. (Mala Singh, 2001). These trends are bringing Universities in line with influential global paradigms and best practices.

More so, the demand for university education in the last 20 years is far greater than the supply. This is in spite of the phenomenal expansion in the publicly owned universities in Nigeria from 1 in 1948 to 56 in 2007.However, government had problems providing space for the large number of applicants ready to be admitted into the university, due to the explosive population rate of Nigerians,especially the young ones. According to the population Reference Bureau (PRB) 2003, Nigeria had a projected population of 133.9 million and 45 percent of these figures are people of school going age. Consequently, the government alone seems not to be able to provide the required educational facilities for the teeming population of the school age.Almost 30 million people in the world are fully qualified to enter a university; but no  available place for them (Duderstadt 2002). Bearing in mind that no less than half of the world populations are youth under age twenty, most  of  whom live  in Africa, Asia and Latin America , it implication  on staggering  demand for university education is enormous for government alone to shoulder. In Nigeria for instance, the series of committees set up by the Federal Governments  over the years (Long commission of  1990; EstuNupe committee  on the future of  Higher Education  in Nigeria, 1996; and the Education , Science and Technology Committee  of  vision 2010 , 1997) consistently reported of  the gross inadequate  provision of the university education  in Nigeria ( Olaniyan 2001).

In the absence of improved facilities to cope with, there is increase in demand in university education which makes most institution to exceed their carrying capacities, which is defined as the maximum number of students that the institution can sustain for qualitative education based on available human and material resources (NUC2005).

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Although public universities have dominated the higher education landscape in Nigeria for several decades, their failure to cope with admission pressures became more critical with the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in the later part of the 1980s (Obasi,2007) .Hence, the public supply of higher education falls far short of the new demand. Incessant industrial unrest is another major issue that necessitates the emergence of private education. Strikes brings about destabilization of the learning process and lead to low quality service from lecturers because of their desire to cover lost ground. More so, there are serious allegations that the public university system in Nigeria is characterized by poor funding, high students’ wastage, huge unsatisfied demand-supply gap and lack of critical educational inputs. The tables below, shows the trend in university admission for the past few years.

Academic Year

No. of Applications Received

No. of Admissions Given

Percentage Admitted



































Source: JAMB, Annual Report for Various Years as cited in Obasi (2007:47)

Alli (2004) observed that Nigerians generally have the peculiar attitude of individual solution as a response to social malaise. For instance people strive to provide boreholes or water for themselves and generate electricity because government has failed to meet their expectation. Hence, with increasing awareness of the importance of education for human emancipation and development, Nigerians continue to adopt the usual and peculiar response, which is private option. Therefore the trend has been that of the private sector gradually taking over the primary and secondary sub – sectors of the education industry. Consequently, more parents and guardians tend to opt for private universities where strikes and other vices associated with public universities are virtually non-existent.

Also, access to higher education is essentially a social process, deeply involved with the society’s cultural pattern system of value [Thressher, 1970]. The conditions governing admission into universities must therefore be determined by the existing social, economic and political realities within the society. In Nigeria, within a population of over 140 million scattered over 36 states and Federal capital territory situated at Abuja, finding an equitable formula for admitting all eligible applicants is a challenge.

Recently, the federal government has initiated momentous reforms in the University sub-sector, designed to promote institutional autonomy, strengthen governance and entrench mechanisms for quality assurance and control. Whereas university autonomy and academic freedom only exist in principle, institutional mechanisms of quality control have been weakened by the centrifugal forces of politics of ethnic balancing. Although the contention is that the standard of education is diminishing, attempts at improving the system’s dysfunctional ties have been incremental hence Nigerian Universities are at the risk of losing their competitive edge. Many nations in Africa recognize the fact that sustainable development can be attained only when a functional system of education exists, thus, a higher level of education is a sine qua-non for upward social and economic mobility in recent times.  Therefore, the Nigerian government should also formulate and implement people-oriented policies that will reduce widespread poverty. Selective-user charges should also be introduced to make the wealthy pay more for university education.

Realizing that education is the spark plug for development, Nigeria adopted policies and programmes that are inclined to the Social Demand Approach to the supply of education. It was for the same reason that in 1979, university education was placed on the concurrent list in the Nigerian Constitution. This provision marked the genesis of the establishment of private universities in Nigeria. The rationale for establishing state universities was essentially political because of the entrenched quota system tradition in Nigeria, which is driven by politics of ethnic balancing rather than merit. Some state universities were established to reflect the federal character and to bridge the huge demand-supply gap. There was a feeling that candidates from the Southern part of the country were denied places in universities outside their catchments areas. There is today an increasing demand for university education, which the existing universities cannot accommodate. Therefore, private universities were established to accommodate the increasing demand for places in existing institutions. It is evident that the government alone cannot provide the much needed university education to the teeming applicants seeking places yearly,  hence the involvement of private sectors .The Private universities is owned by individuals or corporate bodies. The corporate bodies are mostly religious organizations. Private universities are wholly funded by the proprietors hence they do not benefit from the NUC government grants. Nevertheless, the private sectors have been licensed to complement governmental efforts at providing university education to the masses. Today, there are 32 private universities i

A fundamental justification for the emergence of private universities in the late 1990 is the rising index of unsatisfied demand.

Statement of the Problem

Although, public universities have dominated the higher landscape in Nigeria for several decades, their failure to cope with admission pressures became more critical which then made the public supply of higher education fall far short of the demand. More so, it has been observed that the  public university system in Nigeria is characterized by  incessant industrial unrest, poor funding, high students’ wastage, huge unsatisfied demand-supply gap and lack of critical educational. However, the contention is that the standard of education is diminishing and the attempts at improving the system’s dysfunctionalites have been incremental. Hence, Nigerian universities are at the risk of losing their competitive edge.

The presence study probably became more relevant in order to ensure quality, access and equity in education provision in private institutions through coordinated and concerted efforts of all stake holders necessitated the present study titled: Privatization of University Education and Quality Service Delivery.

Purpose of the study 

The study is aimed at investigating the following:

To ascertain why students choose to pursue their university education in a private university.

1.  To determine, if privatization improves the quality of education in Nigeria.

2.  To assess the level of adequacy of physical and material resources in institutions.

3.  To ascertain the level of quality service delivery in private universities.

4.  To determine, how qualified, adequate and experienced are teachers in the private institutions.

5.  To ascertain the quality the product of private institutions.

Research Questions

The study is framed to answer the following four research questions:

1.  What influences Nigerian students’ decisions to pursue private university education?

2.  Does privatization improves the quality of education in Nigeria?

3.  How do students in private universities view their experiences in their school?

4.  What is the level of quality service delivery in private Universities in Nigeria?

5.  How qualified, adequate and experienced are teachers in the private university?


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