The Nigerian University System and the Challenges of Capacity Building in a Globalized Economy

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The issue and influences of globalization have challenged and re-ordered relations and world economy to the extent that the weak systems have remained bemoaned watching helplessly at the scientific speed with which water passes under the bridge. It is however not surprising that the under nourished, fragile and underdeveloped economies would find themselves in such pathetic situation. At international and local levels, questions have been asked, investigations made and scientific strategies developed to mitigate the scaring effects of globalization, yet globalization has continued to wax stronger and stiffer with its flogging war of exploits on these fragile economies as if to remind these economies of its initial warning that were not harkened to by these recalcitrant, 'dissident' and technologically backward 'unbelievers'. World economies and political processes have changed from paternalistic to competitiveness to the extent that any economy that does not fall in line is crushed (Kwanashie, 1999; Iheriohanma, 2010). Most affected by the flagging world economic changes appear to be in the areas of employment, job creation and wealth generation. Human capacity development appears to be truncated. These issues have generated international discourses, alignment and reorganization; yet the solutions are far from sight.

University academic system is structured to impart on the products the intellectual prowess needed for self and societal development. The courses and programmes are designed to enable the beneficiaries to be masters and controllers of their environment. The system introduces and exposes the products to varied spheres of philosophies, thoughts, ideologies, methods, etc that should equip them for life after school. Essentially, important aspects of the university academic system include capacity building, knowledge creation and development and conducive environment for inquisitiveness. Etymologically, university is derived from the Latin word, Universitas, which when translated means, corporation. The word was not originally limited or restricted to institutions of learning. In a sense, the word came to mean corporation of masters and students (teachers and learners) i.e. Universitas Majistorum et Scholarium. As time progressed, the word came to be associated with exclusive meaning of a self regulating community that was made up of 'teachers and scholars whose corporate existence had been approved by the civil or ecclesiastical order' (Omeire, 2010). The word is a metamorphosis of a combination of two words, vis Universitas Majistorum (corporation of masters) and Universitas Scholarium (corporation of students). A university product (an Alumnus, an ex-student) therefore, is endowed to be an all-rounder; through rigorous training and instructions he is scientifically found worthy in learning and in character; a controller of his environment and a manager of any situation that surreptitiously and or fortuitously comes across his way. These and many more are what the system is meant for and the Nigerian university system is not an exemption. University products form associations wherever they find themselves to particularly further their interests and desires. Alumni Association is conceived in this perspective as an association of ex--students who graduated from a particular university and are found and or residing within a particular city. They are united by a common goal and are psychologically bonded.

It is however, worrisome that most products of Nigerian university system have not demonstrated any iota of these privileges that universities all over the world bequeath to their products. It is observed that most of the ex-students have not represented their alma mater as ambassadors or have not put into practice those things they learnt from these institutions that should arm them for life after schooling. They are supposed to have acquired the intellectual capacity and skills for self and national economic development. …