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The Dilemma of Post-Colonial Universities

Yann Lebeau
Mobolaji Ogunsanya

III. Facing a New Institutional and Economic Environment: Strategies for coping among university students and staff

Working and Living Conditions of Academic Staff in Nigeria: Strategies for survival at Ahmadu Bello University

Ayuba Hudu

Texte intégral

  • 1 Philip H. Combs, 1989. La crise mondiale de l'éducation. Editions Universitaires, Bruxelles p.3.

Since 1945, the human environment has been transformed with amazing speed under the influence of several revolutions, which, in the whole world, have simultaneously affected the sciences and the technologies, economies and political relations, demography and social structures. Educational systems have also been developed and transformed with astonishing speed, but not fast enough to catch up with the pace of the other sectors. This gap in its diverse forms is central to the crisis of education worldwide.1


1The development of higher education in Nigeria took off at the onset of the world educational crisis of the sixties. Just as the developed world started experiencing congestion in the classroom, and the attendant increase in expenditure in the education sector, Nigeria was, in the same vein, establishing several institutions of higher education in utter disregard of any serious guidelines. This development invariably engendered an increase in public spending in this sector.

  • 2 ibid., p.4.
  • 3 ibid., p. 126.

2In 1967, at Williamsburg, Virginia (USA), a group of eminent educationists and economists from all over the world raised an alarm about the state of tertiary education throughout the world. To arrest the declining situation, they advocated that higher education should attract the best brains, not only to prevent a decline in educational standards, but also to raise its quality, efficacy, justification and output. Higher education certainly requires greater financial resources.2 The quality of education depends largely on the competence and personality of the teachers, their levels of commitment to their jobs, and their conditions of service. The number of lecturers worldwide has increased tremendously between 1960 and 1980: in Africa, the increase is in the region of 395 per cent.3

3Given the peculiar situation of Nigeria, where the emoluments of academic and administrative staff represent more than 90 per cent of the annual budget of each university, virtually nothing is left for the purchase of equipment needed by the lecturers for basic training and research (books, furniture, laboratory equipment, etc.). A closer look at the conditions of service of Nigerian university lecturers reveals that right from the time they joined the service, what they earned as salaries was far below what their expatriate counterparts earned. Some Nigerian lecturers argued, at the time, that if the government was able to bear the exorbitant cost of employing foreign lecturers, it should be able to pay the indigenous staff better salaries.

  • 4 The salary of a senior lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University after some 20 years of service with allo (...)

4Comparing the salaries of university lecturers in developed countries with their counterparts in developing countries is legitimate, but perhaps unrealistic for economic reasons. It should, however, be noted that Nigerian university lecturers have never demanded equal salaries with their American, British or French counterparts, but only with their counterparts in West Africa.4

  • 5 See Ayuba Hudu, 1997. 'Dites et Etat au Nigeria', Sociétés Africaines, L'Harmattan, no.8, December, (...)

5Our case study of lecturers from Ahmadu Bello University shows that their working and living conditions are deplorable. It appears that thirty years of military rule have transformed the university institution into an instrument for regimentation of the youth, rather than an instrument for the education and training of the country's elite.5

6Proper remuneration has always been a major problem of those in the teaching profession in Nigeria. What should be the teacher's monthly pay to make him feel adequately compensated in relation to the value of his certificate has, for a long time, been a subject of national debate. The State believes that they adequately remunerate university lecturers and that their service is part of their own sacrifice to the nation.

7The public, however, believes that considering the intellectual output expected of the university lecturer, he is entitled to better pay. The public is, therefore, embarrassed by the low salaries paid to university lecturers. The newly-introduced salary structure, i.e., the Harmonised Tertiary Institution Salary Scale (HATISS) has further aggravated the problem. University lecturers were not enthusiastic about this increase, which lumped all teachers of post-secondary institutions together under the same salary structure, although they have different professional responsibilities. The swiftness with which the salary increase was effected, without serious consultation and guarantee, was seen by lecturers as ill-motivated and doomed.

8We discovered in the course of our research that the Ahmadu Bello University lecturer is demoralized, disoriented and disorganized. He has become, because of his financial predicament, a part-time teacher, since he must scout around for other sources of income to make ends meet. 'I do not rely on my salary', has become a common expression amongst lecturers, and a way of boosting their individual ego. Undertaking any other job outside one's teaching duties is seen as being enterprising. The situation has also affected research in the institution negatively.

The issues and the problems

  • 6 Naomi Chazan, et al. 1992. Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa, second ed. Lynne Rienner Pu (...)

9It is the contention of this research that the broad parameters of the crisis in Nigerian universities can be defined within the context of global under-development theory.6 It follows that the primary cause of the crisis in tertiary institutions in Nigeria stems from government marginalization of the education sector in general, and that all other variables - dependency on foreign teaching materials, although important - are only secondary. In general, the working conditions of academic staff have deteriorated over the last ten years with the over-politicization of most universities by the military, and the subsequent inability to plan the development of the educational sector.

10What are the working and living conditions of Nigerian university lecturers? To what extent have the financial difficulties of the Nigerian polity affected the funding of institutions of higher learning in the country?


11Data collection is generally of two types. The first type involves the use of structured questionnaires. This is referred to as a 'sample survey'. The second type is an in-depth study involving about ten to twenty persons, through a 'non-guided' interview. For this study, we opted for a combination of the two methods by combining aspects of the questionnaire and those of the in-depth interview. We found this approach useful because it included, simultaneously, open, semi-guided, and guided questions. Our approach was not only qualitative and quantitative, it was also clinical and statistical. We chose, for this study, a sample of 150 lecturers representing all categories, that is, from graduate assistants to the senior lecturers and professors.

12As a matter of fact, the objective was not only to collect detailed information, as was done in the classic qualitative study, but to apply it to a population size close to that of a statistical survey. Therefore, we theoretically obtained data of a more general import, that is, data that could be extended to a wider reference population.

13Our sampling tool was a questionnaire comprising 20 different questions. Some of the questions were 'personal' and others were 'professional'. We wanted to survey the 'general life' of the lecturer so that we could have a clear picture of his working and living conditions, and hence his status within the Nigerian society.

14We asked questions relating to how much a lecturer earns, how much he spends, how he feeds himself, what he wears, his means of transportation, the materials he reads, his dedication to his job, etc. In summary, we tried to find out all the problems faced by lecturers in Nigerian universities.

Historical background to the crisis

15Since the 1960s, the expansion of higher education in Nigeria has been tremendous. In 1999, Nigeria had forty universities, excluding other degree-awarding institutions. The unexpected growth was, however, attended by challenges and contradictions ranging from threats from students due to their deplorable living and studying conditions, to clashes between the academic staff and other segments of the university community. Despite these, the single problem that has threatened the very survival of the Nigerian university system and engaged the attention of all those interested in higher education in Nigeria, is the poor working and living conditions of the academic staff.

16These deplorable conditions have led to the demoralization of highly qualified academic staff and their mass exodus to more lucrative sectors of the national economy; while those left behind, still in quest of a means of livelihood, show little or no commitment to their primary duties of teaching and research. The result is devastating. In some institutions, some departments have had to be closed down or merged due to lack of competent academic staff; the academic programmes of whole faculties have run into serious difficulties; while the graduates of such schools are faced with the embarrassment of non-recognition of their certificates, especially outside Nigeria.

17It must be admitted that the present crisis predates contemporary developments. To trace its roots, therefore, we have to go into the origin of university education in Nigeria. There was no university in Nigeria until 1948, when the University College Ibadan was established as a campus of the University of London. Some Nigerians, however, had attended institutions of higher learning and did possess university degrees prior to this time. Through the training that these Nigerians received, we are able to know the preoccupation of those who established higher institutions in sub-Saharan Africa in those days, and how this later affected the fortunes of graduates that opted for university teaching as a career.

  • 7 Babs A. Fafunwa. 1974. A History of Education in Nigeria. George Allen & Unwin,London, p. 143.

18In 1930, the Hussey Commission recommended that higher education in Nigeria be aimed at turning out ‘well qualified assistants in medical, engineering and other vocations as well as teachers of higher middle schools’.7 The British colonial authorities accepted this. Both Hussey and the colonial authorities had the interests of Great Britain at heart. They were not the only Europeans to demonstrate this patriotic commitment, as elsewhere in French West Africa, Governor Camille Guy also asserted thus:

  • 8 Quoted in Dorothy S. Blair. 1976. African Literature in French. Cambridge University Press, Cambrid (...)

More air! A good syllabus can only be obtained by pruning, not by additions. Instruction in French in elementary sciences, some professional and technical training suitable to the environment. That is all that is required. Otherwise we shall create... arrogant, disorientated and displaced persons.8

19Since higher education was motivated by metropolitan rather than Nigerian interests, the issues of recruitment and welfare of indigenous academic staff were secondary concerns to the British colonial authorities. This was the situation at the Yaba College of Technology, the first institution of higher learning in Nigeria.

20It may, however, be an exaggeration to talk seriously about the conditions of service of academic staff during this period. This class of Nigerians was virtually non existent at this time, as only very few Nigerians had obtained even a first degree. This situation became evident in 1948 and 1949, when the University College, Ibadan experienced staffing difficulties, and the British colonial authorities had to offer the following inducements to attract expatriate staff:

  • 9 Babs A. Fafunwa. 1974. A History of Nigerian Higher Education 1827-1969. Macmillan, Ibadan. p.300.

Subsidized furnished housing on campus, three months annual vacation, attractive pension scheme (federal superannuating system for universities) car allowance and advance, child allowances, passage (on employment termination and annual leave) for staff, his wife and up to five children.9

  • 10 ibid., p.256.

21Babs Fafunwa revealed that when Ahmadu Bello, He and Lagos universities began recruitment of staff, they offered the same kinds of inducements. All these measures to attract expatriate university lecturers have practically disappeared from the Nigerian university system. As for the indigenous academic staff, it is an illusion to expect any of these inducements now.10

22One other strategy used by the colonial administration to secure qualified university lecturers for the University College, Ibadan, but which later created problems for the system, was ‘secondment’. By virtue of this policy, qualified civil servants from government departments were seconded to lecture in the university. The colonial administration found this to be normal, since university teaching career is considered as an extension of the civil service. While these transfers weakened the corporate identity of lecturers, it did not pose any problem to the colonial authorities for two reasons. First, both the professional and ‘seconded’ lecturers considered themselves to be employees in the service of Her Majesty the Queen of England, whose interests in Africa should not be put in jeopardy. Second, remuneration of British nationals was sufficiently high to guarantee them a secure and dignified life.

23The Elliot Commission which proposed the establishment of universities in Nigeria (Ibadan) and Ghana, and the reconstitution of Fourah Bay College (Sierra Leone), also dwelt on staffing, but was silent on the conditions of service for those recruited to serve in these institutions. It only stated that ‘there were also to be residential buildings for the academic and administrative staff’. The lackadaisical attitude of the colonial authorities towards the lot of Nigerian lecturers was clearly demonstrated when the University College, Ibadan was finally established in 1948. When University College Ibadan came into existence, the Inter-University Council kept a fatherly eye on the curriculum, recruitment of staff, and the question of the recognition of local diplomas and certificates in order to ensure the British academic ‘gold standard’. As far as University College Ibadan was concerned, however, nothing was said about the conditions of service for the academic staff. It was only when the administration could not recruit enough qualified staff to start the new institution that it thought of ‘inducements’, which were in reality not as much as what less qualified British nationals occupying administrative positions earned, even in Nigeria. Thus, the British colonial administration laid the basis for the present predicament of Nigerian university lecturers.

The struggle for better conditions of service

24As ‘unenticing’ as the situation was, the colonial administration worsened matters through discriminatory working conditions. The policy of equal pay for equal work did not apply here, as the expatriate staff were paid far higher than their Nigerian counterparts, whose number had now become quite substantial in the university. As a matter of fact, it is on record that the first open agitation for better conditions of service in the Nigerian university system occurred in Ibadan in 1951. This protest led to a revision of the salaries paid to Africans. Eventually, the conditions of service of the African staff were improved, thus bringing to an end the differences between their remuneration and those of their European counter-parts.

25Following the rapid increase in primary and secondary school enrolment, especially in the south, and on account of Nigeria's high- and medium-level manpower needs, it was considered necessary in the late 1950s to examine the need for more institutions of higher learning in the country. It was for this reason that the Ashby Commission was appointed by the federal government in April 1959. The Commission's report recommended the establishment of three more universities: one in Lagos, one in Zaria and one in Nsukka, in addition to University College Ibadan, which was to be developed into a full university. The government accepted the report in 1960. All these institutions developed quickly and by 1963, Nigeria had five full-fledged universities. By this time, many young Nigerians who had been trained in universities in Europe and America had returned home to take up teaching positions in these new Nigerian universities. The University College Ibadan had also produced a substantial number of graduates who had taken up jobs with the newer universities. Thus, the number of indigenous academic staff became sufficiently large to think seriously of their corporate problems and how to solve them.

26It was in 1962 that the government, considering the Nigerian university sector large enough, and following recommendations by the Ashby Commission, established the National Universities Commission with the following objectives:

  • To review and estimate the financial needs of the five universities both annually and quinquennially;

  • To share the funds made available by the federal government on an equitable basis;

  • To co-ordinate the various development programmes of the five universities;

    • 11 ibid., p. 222.

    To ensure that the goals of the universities and the manpower needs of the country are co-terminal as far as practicable, without violating the basic autonomy of the universities in academic matters.11

  • 12 ibid., p. 146.

27At its inception, the National Universities Commission was composed of eleven members, among whom only the secretary and two others were from any of the universities. With this composition, most university lecturers feared that the National Universities Commission would not only be unable to solve their problems, but could even constitute a stumbling block between the universities and the federal government. Some observers felt that the National Universities Commission had been helpful to the university system; but most lecturers were of the opinion that their doubts had been confirmed, and that the National Universities Commission was only another government tool for monitoring and checking the activities of university lecturers.12

  • 13 Fafunwa, 1974, p.304.

28The rapid expansion of the university system is evident from the fact that while there were only 3,761 students in the five universities during the 1962-1963 academic year,13 the number shot up to 14,468 by the 1970-1971 academic year.13 The evolution of the academic staff for the period 1966 to 1971 is presented in table 1.

  • 14 Ashby, Director of Education.

29There was a low percentage of assistant lecturers and junior research fellows compared to senior lecturers and research fellows. Also, while assistant lecturers14 and junior research fellows represented 14.7 per cent of the total academic staff in the 1968-1969 session and the same percentage in the 1969-70 academic year, the figure fell to 12.9 per cent between 1970 and 1971. The fall in the percentage of professors and associate professors in the year 1970-1971 is also glaring. One conclusion that may be drawn from the table is that while less graduates joined the university teaching profession between 1970 and

Table 1. Nigerian university academic staff by grade 1966-1971

Table 1. Nigerian university academic staff by grade 1966-1971

Source: Fafunwa, 1971

  • 15 Fafunwa, 1974, p.304.

301971, more teachers in the higher echelons left the services of the universities. The low rate of entry of the most junior academic staff members and the high rate of departure of professors may be attributed to the increasingly unattractive working conditions of university teachers. At this time, a graduate assistant earned an annual salary of £1 000, compared to his counterpart in the civil service who earned £800.15 Those in the private sector, like the industries and the banks, however, earned more. Younger graduates were, therefore, more attracted to these sectors than to the universities. Bemoaning the situation, Babs Fafunwa wrote:

  • 16 ibid., p.265.

University salaries in Nigeria have not been revised upwards since 1959. They have become so uncompetitive that the University of Lagos, for example, cannot now attract even the best of its own annual graduates to accept sponsorship for post graduate training in order to take up academic appointments, because immediately upon graduation, they are able to obtain elsewhere, much better salaries.16

31Faced with this abysmal problem, the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in 1973, presented to the Gowon administration a number of demands aimed at improving the working conditions of its members and revitalizing the university system. That was, of course, not the first time similar demands were being made by lecturers in Nigeria. In 1967 and later in 1970, the Association of University Teachers of the University of Lagos proposed a new remuneration scale which was agreed to, almost in its entirety, by the University Council. The university administration reneged on the agreement when it could not obtain financial backing from government for the implementation of the new salary scale.

32This time, however, the National Executive Committee of the Association of University Teachers threatened a strike action to back up their demands. That was not the first time a union threatened a strike action in Nigeria. In 1943, a strike organized by the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) was instrumental in securing a substantial pay rise for teachers. Another nationwide strike in 1964 facilitated the implementation of improved working conditions for teachers. In 1973, however, in a swift reaction to the move by the university lecturers, the Yakubu Gowon administration

  • 17 Quoted in Tekena Tamuno, ed. 1979. Ibadan Voices: Ibadan University in Transition. Ibadan Universit (...)

... asked all university staff to vacate university houses unless they were prepared to apologize to the Government and withdraw their threat of strike action.17

33The lecturers had to give up and resume work immediately. Unfortunately, the effect of Gowon's high-handedness is still being felt today, as many senior academics, realizing their vulnerability and in a bid to avoid such humiliation in the future, resigned and sought greener pastures.

34Since the unfortunate episode of the Gowon era, the relationship between university lecturers and subsequent administrations has been anything but cordial. The Murtala Mohammed regime, as short as it was, engaged the lecturers in bouts of arm-twisting that further aggravated a bad situation. The purges of 1975 that were supposed to sanitize the public service, but which turned to witch-hunting in most instances, did not spare many senior academic staff including vice-chancellors of Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Ibadan. Harassed and intimidated, the lecturers who were spared by the Murtala Mohammed administration were unable to summon enough courage to fight the regime while it lasted.

35Murtala's successor, General Obasanjo, attempted to make students pay more in a bid to generate funds for the universities. This move led to a serious crisis, which resulted in the brutal killing of students on many campuses, especially at the Ahmadu Bello University. This sad episode set the university lecturers and the government on a collision course.

36The civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari did not prove to be more charitable as far as the interests of university lecturers were concerned. The long strike embarked upon by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and the series of negotiations with the Shagari administration, only led to empty promises. Things were particularly bad for the university lecturers under the democratic regime of Shehu Shagari, as most of the lecturers, especially those in the higher cadres, faced with the gloomy situation, left the university in pursuit of political appointments in their home states or with the federal government.

  • 18 Quoted by Jibril Aminu, 1986, Quality and Stress in Nigerian Education: Selected addresses and pape (...)

37The Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida administrations that followed gave no sincere consideration to the demands of university lecturers. Under the Babangida administration, the academic staff of universities went on long strikes that eventually culminated in the signing of an agreement for better conditions of service and improved funding of universities. This agreement had hardly been signed when the Minister of Education, Professor Nwabueze, declared that it was not legally binding on the government.18

  • 19 Salaries are higher in Ivorian higher institutions.

Agreement backed by inadequate funding has been a characteristic feature of governments/universities relationship. The Nigerian University lecturers continue to be poorly paid; and today it is known that their salaries are far below those of their counterparts in other West African countries.19 During the long strikes of the Babangida era, ASUU officials circulated statistics unveiling the uncompetitiveness of the salaries of Nigerian university lecturers compared to those of their counterparts in other African countries. While there has been sympathy in some government circles, Nigerian political authorities have in the main described ASUU demands as outrageous and unrealistic. This stalemate has led to the departure of highly qualified academic staff.

38The alarming rate of departures forced the Babangida Administration to set up the Presidential Commission on ‘Brain Drain’ in 1987. The committee's report was submitted to government in 1989, and it prompted the setting up of the Longe Committee, whose recommendations were presented to government in 1991. The increase in the salaries and allowances of academic staff in Nigerian universities and other institutions of higher learning marked a step towards redressing the problem of brain drain in the country. This move, however, and the general increase in the wages of civil servants in the public sector, which immediately followed the pay rise for academic staff, made no significant impact on the economic crisis in the country. Commenting on the problem, U.T. Mohammed wrote:

  • 20 U.T. Mohammed. An assessment of the alternative and complementary sources of funding universities i (...)

The Brain Drain, which is a common feature of all Nigerian universities, is believed to be activated by the present economic crisis. The scenario reveals unpleasant consequences for the universities. It is now difficult for most departments to operate and this has serious implication for both teaching and research.20

39The brain drain syndrome from the universities to other sectors in Nigeria and institutions abroad continues unabated till today, robbing the country of quality academics needed for the training of high-level manpower.

40Protagonists of the Babangida administration maintained that far from the impression created by lecturers, the government never neglected the universities. Citing figures to buttress their position, one source declared that in a particular year during Babangida's rule, over 80 per cent of the total funds allocated to the education sector went to the universities. Percentages, however, can be misleading. The real issue is whether the absolute figures that went to the universities were adequate to address their minimum needs. The view of Nigerian academics is that it is more realistic to consider what percentage of the national budget goes to the universities, than the percentage of the education allocation that goes to them. This, as a matter of fact, is the practice in many developing countries. Once this is done, the paucity of government grants to Nigerian universities becomes evident. The Cookey Report is quite revealing about this issue.

  • 21 Quoted in Jibril Aminu. 1986. p. 181.

There is no generally accepted rule for determining the level of aggregate funding to the University system by Government. It is a matter of both politics and economics. However, it is known that in the 1970s, resources devoted to University education in countries such as USA, USSR, West Germany, Brazil and Singapore annually constituted from 1 to 4 per cent of the Gross National Product. In sharp contrast, the approved annual allocations to the Nigerian universities during the 1981 - 1985 plan period constituted less than one per cent of the country's Gross National Income.21

41Thus, no matter the size of the figure, it will remain unimpressive as long it does not reveal the percentage of Nigeria's total income that goes to the university sector in the country.

Funding the universities

42The twin issues of funding and the poor conditions of service of university lecturers have always been the bane of the Nigerian university system, even before Babangida assumed power in 1985. On funding, Jibril Aminu wrote:

  • 22 ibid., p. 177.

In the fiscal year 1979/80 the capital grant for the 13 federal universities at that time totalled N150 million which was then acknowledged as being grossly inadequate. It was therefore increased to N171 million for the 9 months of 1980 and N335 million in 1981. In 1982, the grants were fixed at N170 million, but this time for 20 universities, including seven new universities of technology.22

43The National Universities Commission intervened, though to no avail, and ASUU officials, both at the national and campus levels, tried to draw the attention of the authorities to the increasing disparity between grants required by the universities and what successive governments had actually released. Academics across the length and breadth of Nigeria were baffled that even National Universities

44Commission’s recommendations, based on its findings, were discarded by the government. U.T. Mohammed, for instance, reproduced the table below to buttress this observation.

45From table 2 it can be seen that while the National Universities Commission recommended to the Shagari administration the payment of 82.3 per cent of the budgetary requirements of the universities in 1980, the government released 61.2 per cent of what the National Universities Commission proposed. In 1987, the Babangida Administration only granted 36.9 per cent of the budgetary needs of the universities as against the 71.5 per cent recommended by the National Universities Commission. The low level of funding during the Babangida era becomes more glaring when one considers the absolute budgetary figures of the universities. It is also worthy of note, however, that while university grants and education grants generally dwindled, military expenditures soared to unbelievable heights.

Table 2. Recurrent grants to federal universities

Table 2. Recurrent grants to federal universities

Source: U.T. Mohammed 1993. P.45.

The way to self-funding

46As university funding deteriorated, the authorities indicated that they alone could no longer cater for the financial needs of the universities. This forced individual universities to take various cost-saving measures. A major step in this direction was the shedding of some financial responsibilities by the universities. By virtue of this policy, items of furniture in staff houses were auctioned and as rightly put by Yakub:

  • 23 N.O. Yakub. 1993. The Nigerian university system and crisis: Where does the problem really lie and (...)

the next step may be for the universities to sell off the estates that may have been provided over the years to staff.23

47While the amounts obtained from such drastic measures may not be known, their effects, particularly on the academic staff, were clear. For instance, a lecturer without furniture who has moved into a university flat will not be able to do any academic work at home.

48With the ever-worsening crisis of funding, universities across the country have been taking steps to generate funds to supplement government grants. One of the means often contemplated by university authorities is the reintroduction of tuition fees. Since the Obasanjo era (1976-79), Nigerian university undergraduates, either on individual campuses or through the National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS), have been most vehement in resisting the payment of tuition fees. In fact, some students have lost their lives in the attempt, and more undergraduates seem to be ready to do so to protect what they see as their only right as Nigerian citizens. Thus, subsequent administrations, including those of Babangida and Abacha, have found it difficult to reintroduce tuition fees in Nigerian universities. At present, only universities owned by state governments charge tuition fees. The-irony is that these institutions are funded through grants from their state governments, which also depend mainly on allocations from the federal government. Their resource bases are therefore weak, and the fees paid by their few students are not enough to make any significant impact on the financial requirements of these universities. As a matter of fact, some of these state universities are only glorified high schools as their owner states lack the resources to enable them provide even the minimum facilities required for teaching and research.

49One other option that has been tried by Nigerian universities is the introduction of consultancy services. By virtue of this policy, Nigerian universities have established consultancy units to enable the institutions and their lecturers provide their expertise to the private and public sectors. It is in the same spirit that some universities, including Ahmadu Bello University, have established public transport services. Some universities provide hotel services, while others have bought shares in government companies that were privatized during the Babangida era. Many have also launched endowment funds and have been making concerted efforts to encourage their alumni associations to be more actively involved in funding their Alma Maters. No doubt, these enterprises have brought in some revenue for some universities, but these have had little impact in the face of the ever-increasing financial demands of the universities. Indeed, experience in practically all universities shows that the capacity of these institutions to generate sufficient funds is very limited. One basic issue we tend to forget is that universities are not business ventures. The primary function of universities is to train high level manpower and conduct research for the progress of society. Once universities are compelled to become business concerns, they find themselves on unfamiliar ground which blurs their vision.

  • 24 U.T. Mohammed, p.46.

50The whole idea of revenue generation by universities seems to have originated in Europe and America. Though the consultancy that supports the universities in developed countries comes from industries and military related industrial and technological research, the universities in Nigeria do not enjoy similar patronage. As pointed out by U.T. Mohammed, 'there is virtually no area of human activity in which the university system in Nigeria does not have the relevant manpower and skills'.24 In Nigeria, the universities cannot enjoy the patronage of the military because university lecturers have been among the most vocal critics of military rule and the excesses of soldiers. Besides, the Nigerian army has not shown any sign that it requires any group's expertise. Whenever such a need arises, the army will feel safer if the academic staff of universities are not involved. Hence, the universities will continue to be denied a vital source of revenue which has boosted the financial base of similar institutions in other parts of the world.

  • 25 Jibril Aminu. 1986. p. 187.

51Another important source that could have boosted the finances of the universities is the private sector, but in Nigeria, there has never been any formal relationship between the universities and this sector. This has robbed both parties of the mutual benefits that could have been derived from such a rapport. Jibril Aminu said, ‘The private sector has the financial resources which the universities are in a position to earn, to the benefit of both parties.’25 When government introduced the payment of education tax, payable by companies, hopes were raised. It is now clear, however, that not much revenue can be earned from this source courtesy of inadequate data and poor implementation. In many developed countries, resources, especially for research, are realized from the industrial sector. The earlier the government enhances its machinery towards the collection of taxes from this source, the better for all. The federal government alone has been responsible for about 90 per cent of the revenue receipts of the universities, but it should not be left to shoulder such a heavy burden alone. In some developed countries, the industrial sector and government are partners in the development of universities. As a matter of fact, during the colonial era, things were not so bad for University College Ibadan because government enjoyed support from external sources as is evident from this report:

  • 26 Fafunwa. 1971. p.221.

From 1948 when Ibadan was established until 1964 it received a total capital grant of a little over £8 million, 2/3 of this sum came from government sources while the balance £2.2 million came from the colonial development fund. Most of the research grants of £1.24 million received by Ibadan from 1948 to 1964 were financed by external agencies mainly the Ford Foundation.26

52Much of the strain on government would have been removed had the private sector been involved in the funding of Nigerian universities.

Effects of inadequate funding

53As financial conditions in Nigerian universities worsened, all the avenues for inducing young graduates to become lecturers began to close. For instance, the staff development programmes, which used to attract brilliant graduates to the universities, are now in shambles in all universities. In the past, Nigerian universities sent their young graduates to foreign institutions for their higher degrees, but now, this is no longer possible for financial reasons. Sending graduate assistants to foreign institutions had two main advantages. First, the American and European universities where most of the young lecturers studied had better facilities and more qualified academic staff for handling post-graduate programmes. Second, when the young graduate was away from his own campus, he was free of the burden of teaching and could thus concentrate on his research and complete his studies in good time. On his return, the young Ph.D. holder could contribute to the development of the post-graduate programme in his university. In recognition of the importance of a staff development programme to the existence of a university, Bone stated that:

  • 27 Quoted by M.I. Junaid. 1993. Managing the university at a time of economic crisis: The Usman Dan Fo (...)

Any external body looking at the quality of an institution, not only in its current work but also in its plans for the years ahead, will certainly wish to examine its staff development programme.27

54Closely linked to the issue of staff training is attendance of conferences, locally and internationally, by Nigerian university lecturers. For lecturers, conferences, seminars and workshops serve as fora for discussing research findings and interacting with their counterparts from other campuses or other parts of the world. It also serves as a fora for the exchange of ideas on issues relating to their profession and the progress of science. Since seminars and conferences are considered to be very important to the intellectual development of academics, and of great influence on the direction of development of society, great attention is paid to all serious scientific meetings. In Nigeria, however, the levity with which attendance at such intellectual gatherings has been handled, especially in recent years, has contributed to the low morale of academic staff. It is now clear that in spite of agreements signed between successive governments and ASUU, government did not fully appreciate the pertinence of conferences, seminars and workshops to the intellectual improvement of Nigerian university lecturers. For example, the 1992 Agreement recommends that every member of the academic staff should be sponsored to attend an international conference once every five years. Similarly, it is recommended that each member of the university staff should be sponsored to attend at least one local conference in a year. Experience at Ahmadu Bello University, however, shows that funds made available by the authorities for these purposes are grossly inadequate, and cannot support the attendance of one lecturer even at one local conference in five years.

55Just as attendance of conferences is being stifled, so also is the funding of individual and group research in the universities. Given a situation in which it is impossible for lecturers to participate in international or local conferences, individual or group research would have been a way of keeping lecturers busy and productive, outside their teaching assignment. Where some form of grant is given, it is usually inadequate for the designated project. For example, what impact can N25,000 have on a research project that is to take the researcher to all parts of Nigeria? When one considers that this money also has to cover stationery and night allowance in lieu of hotel allowance, the inadequacy of the grant becomes evident. To date, Ahmadu Bello University continues to pay N800 as night allowance to senior lecturers on research trips while officers of the same rank in the civil service are paid N7 000. To further compound matters, the researcher encounters numerous administrative bottlenecks while trying to obtain the grant and while retiring the same. The secretary of the University Board of Research (UBR) would only agree to disburse instalmentally a certain ratio, which is very small when compared to an award in the region of N25,000. As for retiring the grant, the lecturer has to take the receipts for every item purchased including stationery, to the Central Purchasing Unit (CPU) for verification, otherwise, his statement of account remains unacceptable to the UBR and the bursary department. The whole process of applying, receiving and retiring the research grant is so frustrating and so humiliating, that many lecturers would not bother and would rather use their own money for their personal research. Given the paucity of their salaries, however, this source cannot go far. Invariably, most lecturers end up not carrying out any research at all. Even when research is carried out, the findings remain unpublished due to lack of funds.

Table 3. Education and public expenditure in the regions of the world 1975

Table 3. Education and public expenditure in the regions of the world 1975

Source: World Bank, Report on World Development, 1980, Washington.

56Note: (In Africa, what is spent for a student in the University is hundred times what is spent for a child in primary school).

  • 28 This is one of the resolutions of the meeting of Representatives of Academic Staff of Nigerian Univ (...)

57It should be noted that the National Universities Commission has directed that 60 per cent of its annual budget be given to academic units. Even with this directive, the best the academic units ever got was 43 per cent, and that was for the 1981/82 academic year.28 This sort of imbalance is experienced by all universities. The disequilibrium occurs because lecturers have little or no say in the allocation of funds made available by the National Universities Commission. This is the duty of the administrators who have been the traditional rivals of lecturers in the universities. To protect their own direct and indirect interests, the administrators always ensure that a larger percentage of the budget goes to them. This is why in most universities, a higher executive officer occupies a fully-furnished office, while senior lecturers are crowded into small offices. This also explains why the administrative staff have greater access to furniture, car refurbishing and housing loans than lecturers. The working and living conditions of Ahmadu Bello University lecturers bear witness to the pitiful situation of Nigerian academic staff.

The situation of academic staff at ABU

  • 29 See, A History of Ahmadu Bello University, 1989. ABU Press Limited, Zaria. p.80.

58Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) was founded in October 1962, with the declared objective of bridging the educational gap between the North and the South. The university started with 425 students, 142 academic staff, and other senior staff. At inception, the university had 17 departments, and by 1975, it had become one of the largest universities in Africa with 11 faculties made up of nearly 90 departments and 5 research centres, institutes and colleges; a student population of over 15,000; and more than 2000 academic staff. By 1987, 1 115 housing units had been built for staff accommodation.29

  • 30 See, The Guardian, May 1998.

In order to provide the staff with some sort of comfort, some facilities were provided within the campus. A water dam was even built to supply the University community potable water. The condition of service, apart from wages of the lecturers, was relatively satisfactory at this point. But as years passed by, the situation deteriorated. The University, which was established to accommodate a specific number of students and staff, now receives more than it could cope with. The University administration did not anticipate such a population explosion. The situation worsened from year to year, specifically since 1987. The Federal Government was unable to face the challenge, worse still the University authorities. However, it was found necessary to recruit more academic staff members to cope with the increasing number of students. Nevertheless, according to ASUU, funding allocation per student fell from 3,424 naira in 1975/76 session to N409 in the 1989/90 session.30

59It is evident that the loss of N3 000 per student could only compromise the quality of education in the institution. At Ahmadu Bello University, no additional senior staff accommodation has been built since 1985; laboratories are becoming dysfunctional one after the other; libraries neither purchase new books nor subscribe to foreign scientific journals; and classroom chairs and tables are almost useless to students. In the lecture theatre, the lecturer has to contend with 400 to 500 students without the benefit of a public address system. In short, the task of the Ahmadu Bello University lecturer has become impossible.

Individual strategies for survival

60Our survey of 150 lecturers from various faculties and departments shows that their living conditions have declined, with the exception of very few who have initiated individual strategies to make ends meet (see table 4).

Table 4. Extra jobs taken up by Ahmadu Bello University lecturers

Table 4. Extra jobs taken up by Ahmadu Bello University lecturers

Total number of respondents =150

Source. Survey results

61Our survey revealed that majority of the senior staff lecturers engage in farming, followed by trading, while only 10 out of 150 staff interviewed worked as consultants. The implication of this result can be better appreciated when related to the specific situation of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. This institution is located in a small rural settlement that is lacking in industrial enterprises, i.e., a town with low business activity. With respect to working as a consultant, the lecturer must be ready to shuttle between Zaria and Lagos or Abuja in order to secure such appointments. This option is not within the reach of all. Moreover, the lecturer has to put his own financial resources into use when looking for consultancy jobs, since the university has failed to bring to public awareness the areas where the expertise of the lecturer could be required.

62The lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University is almost completely cut off from the business world, living in an enclave far from any lucrative business activity. Moreover, he is always conscious of this obstacle; for when any attempt is made towards promoting consultancy at Ahmadu Bello University, his point of reference is always the University of Lagos, where according to him, ‘lecturers do no teaching at all but are big businessmen’. To him, Lagos is a more fertile ground for this type of business.

63It is necessary at this juncture to shed some light on the concept of consultancy as it is perceived by the lecturers. From the interviews we conducted, consultancy involves putting at the disposal of private enterprises, or a state service the expertise of the lecturers; and it also involves the execution of petty contracts (supplies etc.). Here, there is a fusion between being a consultant and having an extra job for survival. We discovered in our sampling that 20 of respondents did not take on any extra jobs. This group, composed of junior teaching staff, confided in us that their decision was in no way due to satisfaction with their salaries; rather it could be explained by the fact that they considered themselves as salaried students who benefit from regular assistance from their relations. In addition, they are the ones who give tutorials to cushion the effects of ‘thorny’ months.

64The universities themselves are now adopting a ‘survivalist strategy’. On many campuses, the university authorities have built shopping complexes, which are rented out to entrepreneurs. The image of the university as a marketplace of ideas has now been expanded to accommodate merchandise and services.

65In a society where paper qualifications determine one's social status, the university lecturer is confronted with a double problem. With his poor salary, how can he assert himself as an intellectual elite? Being a lecturer has become a source of djlemma. It seems that our society is unable to distinguish between paper qualification and wealth. The more certificates one has the more our society expects to find one in a 'big post', with all the concomitant material benefits. In reality, however, this is not so. Our society has, therefore, started to ask questions about the value of higher education and whether it is worth the trouble. Thus, faced with social pressure and confronted with material precariousness, the lecturer has evolved a strategy for survival in order to maintain a semblance of his supposed social status.

  • 31 Thrift collection’ is an informal savings and loans association

66In the space of ten years, the Ahmadu Bello University lecturer has moved from the status of an upper middle-class worker to that of almost no class. His purchasing power has steadily deteriorated, and he has taken up farming, trading and thrift collection31 in his free time, in order to make ends meet. The state of deprivation in which he finds himself is evident in every aspect of his life. The Ahmadu Bello University lecturer scarcely changes his wardrobe. He hardly buys newspapers or books (only 1 % of our sample of 150 buy newspapers once a week - others buy from time to time). As a lecturer lamented:

  • 32 Graduate-assistant, Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Interview, July 1998.

Both my remuneration and working facilities are grossly inadequate. A hungry man can't enjoy his work. As at now, lecturers do not have any living conditions. A group of people whose work demands great mental work should be properly paid so that undue external pressures for survival, decent appearance, transportation problems etc. are not allowed to distract their concentration. Until such is done, it will not be fair to talk of their work output - especially when the facilities and working environment are non existent.32

67This particular lecturer complained that his present monthly salary is worth only a week’s work.

68The most dramatic consequences of inflation are reflected in the emoluments and salaries of lecturers. If the lecturer's income does not increase in proportion to the rising cost of living, the lecturer's real income will lose its value, and he may become less committed. Such a development will surely affect the quality of education. As Max Weber wrote,

  • 33 Essays in Sociology. 1970. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. p,242

As the education prerequisite to the acquisition of the educational certificate requires considerable expense and a period of waiting for full remuneration, this striving means a setback for talent (charisma) in favor of property. For the 'intellectual' costs of educational certificates are always low, and with the increasing volume of such certificates, their intellectual costs do not increase, but rather decrease.33

The choice of the teaching profession

69We discovered that lecturers have diverse reasons for choosing teaching as a career. Among the reasons are material considerations as well as professional interests (table 5).

70From the interview with some junior lecturers at Ahmadu Bello University, it was observed that majority of them were lecturing because it provided them with the opportunity to pursue their postgraduate studies for a few years and then move on to something else. It is evident that they did not choose their profession out of interest, but rather out of necessity, that is, they have nothing else to do. On the contrary, the senior staff have chosen teaching as a vocation and claim to be motivated in spite of the ridiculously low salary. Their faces, however, show that they are just resigned to their fate.

Table 5. What motivated you to take up a teaching job?

Table 5. What motivated you to take up a teaching job?

Number of respondents =150

Source: Survey

71The lecturers were then asked why they remained in the teaching profession in spite of their difficult living and teaching conditions, and if they had another opportunity to make a choice, would they opt for teaching? The answers provided by the senior staff here were positive. They were impelled more by a sense of responsibility than by monetary considerations. The academics in the top echelon of the teaching profession consider themselves to be 'instruments of higher education', consequently, they see it as their duty to ensure the continuity of higher education, in spite of their dismal material and pedagogical conditions. These lecturers believe that it is incumbent on the universities to train the elite of tomorrow, even if this training is sub-standard. They believe that it is better to have a poorly equipped elite than to have none at all. This stand indicates pessimism rather than a sense of duty. The lecturers are convinced that sooner or later, the government will be compelled to take into account the importance of higher education in the development of the country, and the lecturer is not a negligible factor in this process. In short, without qualitative higher education and improved living conditions for lecturers, there can be no hope of development and solid training for the future generation.

72As the living conditions of Ahmadu Bello University lecturers worsened, some unconventional types of behaviour have emerged on the campus. Just as there is an informal sector in the economy, so the crisis of higher education seems to have created its own informal sector among the academics. The working relationship between some lecturers and students no longer takes place within the formal framework, and informal practices of all kinds have been reported, especially in the marking of students' scripts. Some lecturers are known to have demanded and have actually accepted gifts from students, and this has eroded the respect which once existed between the lecturers and their students. One realizes that the role of the dispenser of knowledge, which the lecturer should play vis-a-vis the students, has assumed another dimension. The society (parents and students) no longer accepts that the teacher has a duty to give a low mark to a poor student. If the lecturer does that, his action engenders all sorts of speculation, and moves are made to salvage the situation. Priority is no more given to knowledge, but to certificate.

73Students, therefore, do not hesitate to link the material deprivation of the lecturer to his intellectual impoverishment. In the university today, the 'hood makes the monk.' There is a tendency to assess lecturers by their appearances rather than by their intellectual capabilities. Therefore, the material precariousness of the lecturer makes him look like a potentially corruptible element before his students.

Table 6a. Take home pay (N) - August 1998

Table 6a. Take home pay (N) - August 1998

74The lumping together of the salaries of the academic staff of tertiary institutions, regardless of their differences, gives the impression that they all perform the same function. The refusal by government to acknowledge the right of university lecturers to better remuneration is a major factor that is responsible for the destruction of higher education in the country. The universities are unable to retain their best lecturers since they cannot pay them decent wages. Faced with this situation, universities are forced to recruit young lecturers whose performances are far below the performances of the lecturers they have lost.

75Higher education in Nigeria is faced with two options: either the number of students is reduced to improve the quality, or more resources are provided to cater for the increasing number of students.

Table 6b. New salary (HATISS) started in September 1998

Table 6b. New salary (HATISS) started in September 1998

Note: This new salary scale took effect from September 1998, but by December of the same year, the military government announced that it could not continue paying the new salary.

Conclusion Why do the political leaders refuse to assist the universities and their staff?

76Two explanations are presented below for a better understanding of the refusal of Nigeria’s political leadership to pay sufficient attention to education, in spite of the importance of education to the development of every nation.

Political explanation

77Since universities belong to the state and are financed by it, incumbent political authorities expect unqualified support from university lecturers and total identification with the policies of the government. This has, however, never been the case. As we have seen, since its establishment, ASUU has always sought to assert its independence vis-a-vis the political authorities. University lecturers in the 1960s and 1970s tried, collectively as a body, to play the role of opposition to the military governments, and sometimes even attempted to carry along the students. This attitude, no doubt, infuriated the military, but they could not deal with the lecturers as they deemed appropriate, because the unity of purpose within the universities was at its peak. Things were, however, to take a different turn in the 80s. This period is very significant. First, it marked the return to democracy and, therefore, to partisan politics. The university lecturers lent their support to the political parties: the ideological division found a haven on the campuses and spread its tentacles to even purely academic matters.

78Second, this period also coincided with the economic crisis which affected the purchasing power of the university lecturers. The return of the military in 1983 made matters worse. The political division amongst the university lecturers which manifested itself towards the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980 deepened. In 1985, the military seized the opportunity to widen the crater by co-opting some university lecturers into the government, and this marked the beginning of the ‘manipulation of the intellectuals’. With this strategy, the military was able to use university lecturers to neutralize the ploys of their colleagues. This is how lecturers came to be appointed as ministers of education. As could be expected, these ministers took a firm stand against the demands of university lecturers for better conditions of service. Dr. M.T. Liman, a university lecturer and then minister of education, even went to the extent of advising lecturers to resign their appointments and join the banks and other private organizations if they were dissatisfied with their conditions of service.

Economic explanation

79The Nigerian economy, like every nation, experiences peaks and troughs which may affect the education sector. Nigeria is in a delicate situation, specifically in relation to the budgetary problems it has experienced and the diversity of financial commitments dating back to the early eighties. Debt servicing, following unrestrained foreign borrowing, increased and assumed alarming proportions. The most biting effects of inflation on the education system have been manifested in the conditions of service of lecturers. On the one hand, the emoluments of lecturers have not been at par with the rising cost of living. The actual value of their income has depreciated. This has affected their morale, causing the most qualified among them to opt for better-paid jobs. On the other hand, attempts to increase the salaries of lecturers to keep with the pace of price increases have only worsened an already overburdened education budget to the detriment of other inputs such as books, which are necessary for effective teaching.

80Higher education has been the fastest expanding sector in Nigeria over the last 30 years. Few university administrators and lecturers have actual knowledge of the extent to which the diverse facilities provided by governments are underutilized and are, therefore, not in a position to compare how much is spent on each student in terms of area specialization. The lack of data on this basic information has hampered the ability of educational planners to improve on the quality of teaching. They are also incapable of identifying and assessing the possibilities of improving the quality of academic results within available means.

81During the crisis which pitched the Abacha administration against the Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU), various government representatives made public pronouncements in defence of the government's position. One of the most significant statements was made by the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Lt. General Jerry Useni. He said that Nigerian university lecturers should not consider themselves more important than other Nigerians. As far as Useni was concerned, every Nigerian is important, and every Nigerian is contributing something to the growth of the nation. Such a statement reveals the limited outlook of some Nigerians who find themselves at the helm of affairs in this country. While it may be true that every Nigerian is important, the special task assigned to universities, and by implication, university lecturers, to produce high level manpower and conduct research, entitles them to respect and decent salaries commensurate with their positions and responsibilities.

82Even under the present leadership of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, not much is being done to rebuild the confidence of Nigerian university lecturers in the system. A significant pointer to the hopelessness of the situation is government's recent salary review and harmonization of the salary scale and emoluments of university lecturers with the lecturers in polytechnics, colleges of education, and even civil servants, under HATISS (Harmonized Tertiary Institution Salary Scale). This is a direct assault on the dignity of Nigerian university lecturer and it dealt a fatal blow to whatever hope there was of saving the university system from total collapse. The process of promotion of the Nigerian university lecturer from one grade to the other is no less rigorous than that of his counterpart in other parts of the world. The sense of commitment of the overwhelming majority of Nigerian university lecturers is also not in doubt. Nevertheless, a Nigerian professor, even with his present salary, earns just about US $250 a month. It is obvious therefore that the brain drain will continue unabated as long as the country's leaders fail to appreciate the real worth of university lecturers.

  • 34 In: Community 3 (2) 1998: 23.

83It can be said without fear of contradiction that the real enemy of the Nigerian university system is the military. Nigeria has been independent for thirty-eight years now. Of these, the military has been in power for about thirty years. It can therefore be said that the military, rather than any other group, should be held responsible for the shabby treatment of university lecturers and the crisis within the Nigerian university system. Perhaps it is in realization of this fact, and of the general poor performance of the Nigerian army in politics, that Attahiru Jega demanded ‘a minimum agenda against military rule’.34

84Successive military regimes have attributed the plight of Nigerian university education to insufficient resources in the face of competing demands. Nigerian university lecturers, however, know that the real problem is the scorn in which they are held by the military. Suffice it to add that the civilian politicians that found themselves in power at various intervals of Nigerian history were no better than the military as far as the university system and general probity are concerned. As long as Nigerian leaders fail to recognize the real value of university lecturers, the crisis of the Nigerian university system will continue to degenerate. Nevertheless, there are certain questions that will always remain unanswered:

  • 35 A.O. Sanda. 1992. Managing Nigerian Universities. Spectrum Books, Ibadan, p.58.

How can the intellectuals in the universities be adequately rewarded for exemplary performance at their jobs? How can the same intellectuals be sanctioned for under-performance or for conduct unbecoming of occupants of those 'exalted' offices? What exactly are university teachers expected to achieve in order for them to be adequately compensated.35

85As one scholar said,

  • 36 Ogoh, Alubo. 1999. Globalisation and the changing role of the university in Nigeria. The Nigerian S (...)

... No longer is the university regarded as ivory towers both in the standard of available facilities and, perhaps prestige of students as well. The once hallowed towers have begun to exhibit cracks both in the visible structures and in the people's mind. Furthermore, the university seems to be transforming into a market both for the sale of goods and services and more importantly, as a means of economic, survival.36



A History of Ahmadu Bello University, 1989. ABU Press, Zaria. p.80.

Alubo Ogoh. 1999. Globalization and the changing role of the university in Nigeria. The Nigerian Social Scientist 2 (1) March.

Aminu, Jibril. 1986. Quality and Stress in Nigerian Education: Selected addresses and papers 1975-1985, Maiduguri & Zaria: NNPC, p. 180

Blair, Dorothy S. 1976. African Literature in French. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p.9.

Chazan, Naomi, et al. 1992. Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa, second ed.

Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colorado.

Combs, Philip H. 1989. La crise mondiale de l'éducation. Editions Universitaires, Bruxelles, p.3

Community 3 (2) 1998: 23.

Essays in Sociology. 1970. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, p.242 Fafunwa, Babs A. 1974. A History of Education in Nigeria. George Allen & Unwin, London, p. 143.

Fafunwa, Babs A. 1974. A History of Nigerian Higher Education 1827-1969. Macmillan, Ibadan, p. 300.

Hudu, Ayuba. 1997. Elites et état au Nigeria. Sociétés Africaines, l'Harmattan (8, December) pp.73-77.

Junaid, M.I. 1993. Managing the university at a time of economic crisis: The Usman Dan

Fodiyo University experience. In: G.A. Urtiar. p.96.

Mohammed, U.T. 1993. An assessment of the alternative and complementary sources of funding universities in Nigeria. In: Contemporary Issues in University Education in Nigeria. G.A. Umar, ed. Faculty of Education, Sokoto. p.45.

Sanda, AO. 1992. Managing Nigerian Universities. Spectrum Books, Ibadan. p.58.

Tamuno, Tekena. ed. 1979. Ibadan Voices: Ibadan University in Transition. Ibadan

University Press, Ibadan. p. 94.

Umar, G.A., ed. 1993. Contemporary Issues in University Education in Nigeria. Faculty of Education, Sokoto.

World Bank, Report on World Development, 1980, Washington D.C.

Yakub, N.O. 1993. The Nigerian university system and crisis: Where does the problem really

lie and what may be the solution? In: G.A. Umar p. 39.

Selected Readings

Ball, S. and I. Goodson, eds. 1985. Teachers' Lives and Careers. Falmer Press, Lewes, UK. Court, David and Kabiru Kinyan. 1978. Development Policy and Educational Opportunity:

The experience of Kenya and Tanzania. Institute international de planification de 1'éducation / UNESCO, Paris.

Eke, A.Y. 1974. Government and university relationships in Nigeria. The Quarterly Journal of Administration 8 (4) July: 375-379.

Field, K. 1984. Teacher Development: A study of the stages in the development of teachers. Teacher Center, Brooktine, Massachusetts. Ojo, J.D. 1990. Law and University Administration. Malthouse Press Limited, Lagos. Rempel, A. and R. Bentley. 1990. Teacher morale: Relationship with selected factors. Journal of Teacher Education 21 (4): 534-539.

Schulman L. and G. Sykes, eds. 1985. Handbook of Teaching and Policy. Longman, New York.

Sikes, P. 1987. The Teacher Careers: Crises and continuities. Falmer Press, Lewes, UK.


1 Philip H. Combs, 1989. La crise mondiale de l'éducation. Editions Universitaires, Bruxelles p.3.

2 ibid., p.4.

3 ibid., p. 126.

4 The salary of a senior lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University after some 20 years of service with allowances is 13,000 naira (93 000 CFA) old salary - with the new Harmonised Tertiary Institution Salary Scale (HATISS), he earns 27,000 naira (193 000 CFA); while the same category of lecturer in Côte d'Ivoire earns 400 000 CFA which is equivalent to 56,000 naira.

5 See Ayuba Hudu, 1997. 'Dites et Etat au Nigeria', Sociétés Africaines, L'Harmattan, no.8, December, pp.73-77.

6 Naomi Chazan, et al. 1992. Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa, second ed. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colorado.

7 Babs A. Fafunwa. 1974. A History of Education in Nigeria. George Allen & Unwin,London, p. 143.

8 Quoted in Dorothy S. Blair. 1976. African Literature in French. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p.9.

9 Babs A. Fafunwa. 1974. A History of Nigerian Higher Education 1827-1969. Macmillan, Ibadan. p.300.

10 ibid., p.256.

11 ibid., p. 222.

12 ibid., p. 146.

13 Fafunwa, 1974, p.304.

14 Ashby, Director of Education.

15 Fafunwa, 1974, p.304.

16 ibid., p.265.

17 Quoted in Tekena Tamuno, ed. 1979. Ibadan Voices: Ibadan University in Transition. Ibadan University Press, Ibadan. p.94.

18 Quoted by Jibril Aminu, 1986, Quality and Stress in Nigerian Education: Selected addresses and papers 1975-1985, Maiduguri & Zaria: NNPC, p. 180

19 Salaries are higher in Ivorian higher institutions.

20 U.T. Mohammed. An assessment of the alternative and complementary sources of funding universities in Nigeria. In: G.A. Umar et al. 1993. Contemporary Issues in University Education in Nigeria. Faculty of Education, Sokoto. p.45.

21 Quoted in Jibril Aminu. 1986. p. 181.

22 ibid., p. 177.

23 N.O. Yakub. 1993. The Nigerian university system and crisis: Where does the problem really lie and what may be the solution? In: A. Umar et al. p.39.

24 U.T. Mohammed, p.46.

25 Jibril Aminu. 1986. p. 187.

26 Fafunwa. 1971. p.221.

27 Quoted by M.I. Junaid. 1993. Managing the university at a time of economic crisis: The Usman Dan Fodiyo University experience. In: A. Umar et al. p.96.

28 This is one of the resolutions of the meeting of Representatives of Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities held on Monday, October 21, 1996.

29 See, A History of Ahmadu Bello University, 1989. ABU Press Limited, Zaria. p.80.

30 See, The Guardian, May 1998.

31 Thrift collection’ is an informal savings and loans association

32 Graduate-assistant, Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Interview, July 1998.

33 Essays in Sociology. 1970. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. p,242

34 In: Community 3 (2) 1998: 23.

35 A.O. Sanda. 1992. Managing Nigerian Universities. Spectrum Books, Ibadan, p.58.

36 Ogoh, Alubo. 1999. Globalisation and the changing role of the university in Nigeria. The Nigerian Social Scientist 2 (1) March.

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1. Nigerian university academic staff by grade 1966-1971
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Crédits Source: Fafunwa, 1971
Fichier image/jpeg, 148k
Titre Table 2. Recurrent grants to federal universities
Crédits Source: U.T. Mohammed 1993. P.45.
Fichier image/jpeg, 204k
Titre Table 3. Education and public expenditure in the regions of the world 1975
Crédits Source: World Bank, Report on World Development, 1980, Washington.
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Table 4. Extra jobs taken up by Ahmadu Bello University lecturers
Légende Total number of respondents =150
Crédits Source. Survey results
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Table 5. What motivated you to take up a teaching job?
Légende Number of respondents =150
Crédits Source: Survey
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Table 6a. Take home pay (N) - August 1998
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Titre Table 6b. New salary (HATISS) started in September 1998
Légende Note: This new salary scale took effect from September 1998, but by December of the same year, the military government announced that it could not continue paying the new salary.
Fichier image/jpeg, 113k


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