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Friday, 12 September 2014


Missionaries’ efforts covered two levels of education – primary and secondary. Tertiary education was not included, may be because their intention was not originally to make education their priority. It may on the other hand mean that colonial government too did not want Africans to be well educated, for their authority not to be challenged. Increasing awareness of few educated Nigerians (nationalists) compelled the whites to see the need for additional professional education slightly above secondary education (post-secondary).
Central Agricultural Research Station at Moor Plantation in Ibadan and at  Samaru in Zaria were the earliest post-secondary institutions that provided the sub-professional training before the 1930’s proposition by Hussey. E.R.J. Hussey proposed three levels of education for Nigeria, he established Makerere Higher College. Hussey proposed the structures to include:
i.                  Primary level which should be six (6) years, replacing the initial eight (8) with local language as the medium of instruction. The curriculum was to include Agriculture, Hygiene, handicraft and interest in the local environment.
ii.                   Secondary level which should also be for six (6) years and after which they can search for employment in any fields.
iii.                  Vocational higher education level that vocational courses are to be provided and to ultimately grow to the British standard of university.
 The Nigerian higher education system is comprised of Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education offering programs in areas such as teacher education and agriculture. It is the largest and most complex higher education system on the continent.
The literature reviewed focused mainly on Universities with minimal reference to other components of the system. Issues raised are mainly issues affecting the University system. It is assumed that the trends observed in the Federal Universities are similar to those that are found in some State Universities and other components of the higher education system.
 Following Hussey’s proposal to the Nigerian parliament in 1930 of the need to structure Nigerian education into three (3) levels as earlier highlighted, the last stage of this proposal eventually led to the first higher educational institution, the Yaba Higher College, was established in 1932. Yaba Higher College was the first Nigerian institution that provided higher education to train Nigerians to be qualified personnel in the fields of medicine, engineering, teacher training, agriculture, forestry, commerce, veterinary medicine and survey. Officially, Yaba Higher College was opened in 1934, admitted and accommodated its students in 1932 at Kings College, Lagos. By 1934 official opening, the students had already in their first, second and third years.
However and despite the long period of the college’s existence, the nationalists did not relent in their agitation for a university. To this extent, two distinct commissions were set up on the prospect for the establishment of universities in British colonies and specifically in Nigeria. The Asquith and Elliot Commissions were set up in 1943. Consequently, in 1948, the University College Ibadan was founded as an affiliate of the University of London. University College continued as the only University Institution in Nigeria until 1960.The consideration of Asquith’s report and eventual advice by the Secretary of State for the colonies, Authur Greech Jones in 1947 advocated establishment of two university colleges, as well as the Elliot’s recommendation of establishing University College in Ibadan.  All these culminated in the establishment of University Colleges Ibadan in 1948 and approval was also given for the transfer of about 104 students of Yaba Higher College to form the foundation students of the new university. Dr. Kenneth Mellanby was appointed the first principal of the University College Ibadan.
The general public and the press were antagonistic to this new university that the very first five years were characterized with criticisms and agitation for full university and not University College. There were a lot of discriminations in the staff strength, condition of service, students’ enrolment and admission policy, so also the curriculum was British-oriented. Between 1948 and 1949, the university had forty expatriates and six Africans. From this period till 1953, the number of expatriates increased to eighty-one while that of Africans remained stagnated at six. Also, from 1952 to 1962, the certificates issued to University Colleges graduate were similar to those given to private candidates who sat for London University Exams. In April 1959, the Nigerian government commissioned an inquiry (Ashby Commission) to advise it on the higher education needs of the new nation for its first two decades of Independence. Before the submission of the report in 2 September, 1960, the Eastern Region government established its own university at Nsukka. (University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1960). The recommendation of the Ashby Report includes among others
i.                  The Federal Government should give support to the development of new Universities of Nigeria, planned in 1955 and open a few weeks before the publication of the Ashby Report in 1960.
ii.                   A university should be established in the north using the old site of the Nigerian college in Zaria as its base.
iii.                  A university should be established in Lagos with day and evening courses in business, commerce and economics;
iv.                  University College Ibadan, should move away from its conservative position, widen its curriculum and develop into a full university;
v.                  All universities in Nigeria should be national in outlook;
vi.                  There should be wider diversity and greater flexibility in university education;
vii.                  All the universities should have B. A. (Education) degree courses;
viii.                  Courses in engineering, medicine, law, commerce and agriculture should be offered;
ix.                  All new Nigerian universities should be independent of one another and each should confer its own degrees;
x.                  A National Universities Commission should be set up to have undisputed control over the affairs of the universities, particularly in terms of finance, staff and courses.

In the Eastern Region, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka was founded in 1960; in the West, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife (formerly, the University of Ife came to be in 1961; and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was established in the North in 1962. In 1962, the University of Lagos was born, while in 1962, the University College Ibadan transformed into a substantive university. This made UCI, Ibadan and University of Lagos became the first two federal universities in Nigeria while other three were regional. In 1970, the newly created Bendel State established a university known as University of Benin. The 6 universities established during this period 1960-1970 are referred to as first generation universities.
In 1975, all the six universities mentioned above became federal universities while seven new ones were in existence by 1977 to reflect the nineteen states structure of Nigeria as at 1976. These second generation universities as they were referred to include the University of Calabar (1975); the University of Ilorin (1976); the University of Jos (1975); the University of Sokoto (1977); the University of Maiduguri (1977); the University of Port Harcourt (1977); and Bayero University Kano (1977). They became federal universities by virtue of Decree 46 of 1977 which provided for Federal Government take-over of all Universities in Nigeria. The 1979 constitutions transfer of university education from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list is meant that states governments were free to establish state-owned universities if they so desired. As a result of this development, between 1979 and 1983, the following universities were founded: Bendel State University, Ekpoma; Anambra State University of Technology, Enugu; Imo State University; Etiti; Ogun State University, Ago-Iwoye; Ondo State University, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt; Cross River State University and Lagos State University.
Seven Federal Universities of Technology emerged between 1981 and 1985. These were the Federal Universities of Technology Bauchi (1982 / 1982); Markurdi (1981 / 1982); Owerri (1981 / 1982); Yola (1982 / 1983); Akure ( 1982 / 1983); Abeokuta (1983 / 1984); Minna ( 1983 / 1984). The Federal University of technology, Yola, became an out-post of University of Maiduguri. The University of Jos absorbed the Federal University of Technology, Makurdi as the out-post of the former, while the Federal University of Technology, Abeokuta became a campus of the University of Lagos (Okon, 2006). Following the dawn of the third republic (from May 29, 1999 till date), there has been increase in universities establishment across the nation. The fourth generation universities are those ones established between 1991 to date. They included more state universities, National Open Universities and private Universities. Student’s numbers are in scores of thousands.
In 1999, private ownership of university was liberalized and individuals and religious organizations became increasingly interested in establishing university. Babcock, Madonna and Igbinedion Universities were the first to be issued license of operation in 1999 and followed by Bowen in 2001; Covenant, Pan African, Benson Idahosa Universities in 2002, American University of Nigeria IN 2005, Al-Hikmah University in 2005, Fountain University, Osogbo in 2007, Caleb University in 2008,Adeleke University,Ede in 2011, Elizade University in 2012,. Since 1999, there was no year that a university or more, federal, state or private was/were not established till the year 2013. Presently, Nigeria has a total of 129 universities, with 40 being federal, 39 state-owned and 50 privately-owned, providing university educations.
 In summary, other categories of tertiary institutions in Nigeria are the polytechnics, monotechnics, research and training institutes, as well as the colleges of education. As for Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, they are in excess in number respectively.
In the simplest form, tertiary education can be said as higher learning of education.
According to Wikipedia, Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education.

According to the World Bank Tertiary education broadly refers to all post-secondary education, including but not limited to universities. Universities are clearly a key part of all tertiary systems, but the diverse and growing set of public and private tertiary institutions in every country—colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, distance learning centers, and many more—forms a network of institutions that support the production of the higher-order capacity necessary for development.
The term tertiary means 'third' and therefore tertiary education refers to the third stage of education that learners take on in the learning process. Tertiary education is undertaken in colleges or universities and it may be delivered virtually or at a distance.

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