Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

Knowledge Management in Nigerian Universities: A Conceptual Model

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

Knowledge Management in Nigerian Universities: A Conceptual Model

Article excerpt

Introduction

Universities are the intellectual center of knowledge production and research. They are responsible for education, research, and knowledge transfer to society, hence, contributing to national development. The potential of universities to transform society economically, politically, socially, and culturally has been well documented in the literature (Brennan, King, & Lebeau, 2004). In the emerging knowledge society, universities are the expected drivers of innovation, thereby contributing to the development of a learning society. It may, therefore, be correct to posit that a nation's development is dependent on the ability of its universities to produce new knowledge, new technology, and quality graduates. In contributing to national development, universities have a role in preparing graduates, not simply for the present time, but also for the emerging society which is characterized by technological advancements (Ramakrishnan & Yasin, 2012). Universities may, therefore, be seen as the key drivers in the emerging knowledge economy who are thus required to innovate as well as collaborate with industries for research and development purposes. In the same vein, Chen, Chen, and Padro (2015) opined that higher education institutions should be able to meet the needs of students and society while attending to the well-being of the institution itself.

In the Nigerian context, the National Universities Commission (NUC) serves as the regulatory body for all universities in the country. The NUC is charged with approving all academic programs within the universities: approving the establishment of all degree-awarding institutions, ensuring quality assurance of all academic programs, and serving as a channel for all external support to the universities (NUC, 2016a). Historically, as documented by Ololube, Dudafa, Uriah, and Agbor (2013), five federal government universities were initially established in Nigeria: the University College, Ibadan, in 1948, which is now known as the University of Ibadan; the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1960); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1962); the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (1962), which is now known as Obafemi Awolowo University; and the University of Lagos, Lagos (1962). These universities were reported to have been established on the basis of the government's recognition of the role of education in attaining national economic expansion, individuals' social emancipation, as well as producing the knowledgeable and competent workforce needed for national development (Ololube et al., 2013). Presently, in Nigeria, there are 40 federal government-run universities, 42 state-owned universities, and 61 private universities, all approved by the NUC (NUC, 2016b).

Higher education institutions all over the world are grappling with a number of challenges, making it difficult to achieve their set objectives while simultaneously maintaining their historical role of contributing effectively to society. Some of these challenges, as highlighted by Chen et al. (2015), include fiscal constraints and increased calls for accountability, growing demand for enrollment, and challenges from evolving technologies. These challenges are also prominent within the Nigerian higher education context. For instance, Akinyemi and Bassey (2012) note that, despite the increase in the number of universities, there remains a wide gap between the demand and supply of university education: that is, there is high demand for admission places; however, the enrollment figures are low. Ezepue (2015) cited some of the challenges facing higher education in Nigeria as the following: lack of skills-focused critical education; a grossly inadequate curriculum producing graduates not ready for employment; graduates without study and critical-thinking skills; graduates with low self-confidence, low self-esteem, and low self-efficacy, among other impediments. In the same vein, Famurewa (2014), in an analysis of funding of higher education in Nigeria, concluded that inadequate funding is the bane of tertiary education in Nigeria. …

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