The Nigerian university system: meeting the challenges of growth in a depressed economy


A phenomenal expansion of the Nigerian university system began with the oil boom of the 1970s. Following a downturn in the nation's economy and the introduction of structural adjustment programmes, government subventions to Nigerian universities have dropped appreciably, and in real terms the universities have suffered considerable decline in purchasing power. Institutional structures for monitoring efficiency have played an important role in efforts to maintain academic standards; but in the face of continued uncontrolled expansion and in the absence of basic facilities for teaching and research, the university system cannot sustain a healthy growth. Greater attention is being given to improved fiscal management, income generation by the universities and rationalisation of academic programmes. As scholarships and bursary awards for able but indigent students are resuscitated, cost recovery measures in the universities need to be intensified. Proposals for the establishment of private universities operating within guidelines prescribed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) should be re-examined.

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Adesola, A.O. The Nigerian university system: meeting the challenges of growth in a depressed economy. High Educ 21, 121–133 (1991).

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  • Structural Adjustment
  • Real Term
  • Cost Recovery
  • Adjustment Programme
  • Academic Standard