Shock Value

Shock Value

The Nigerian economy, like any other, experiences “shocks”— events or policy decisions that can send a ripple of changes through the system. This column zooms in on these ripples in a range of sectors to explore how and why these shocks matter.

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Nine New Universities - A Drop in the Bucket?

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi is an avid reader seeking insights in unexpected places. Her research interests include economic development, political economy and trade.

When the Federal Government licenced nine new private universities in March, the news was greeted with considerable enthusiasm in some quarters and a good measure of scepticism elsewhere. Both reactions stemmed from people’s perceptions of how much (or how little) these new universities could improve the state of tertiary education in Nigeria. But how much of this optimism or pessimism is based on fact? Rather than the usual knee-jerk reaction, let’s examine the issue from an objective standpoint. Tertiary education in Nigeria faces two main issues: access and quality. Therefore, any improvements would necessarily be in one or both of these areas.

In terms of access, the establishment of these universities is part of a welcome trend in the expansion of private sector involvement in higher education in Nigeria. This began in 1999 when military rule ended, and the decade from 2005 to 2015 has witnessed the establishment of 51 new private universities. The dramatic nature of this expansion is highlighted by the fact that only 14 federal and 17 state universities were newly established within the same ten-year period.

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