COMPLETE PROJECT-UNIVERSITY EDUCATION POLICY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION AND THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent the university education policy could justify the fight against corruption for sustainable development of Nigeria. This study was designed to provide baseline information for re-engineering university policy-plan in solving the problem of corruption in order to achieve system efficiency and economic development of the nation. Expected findings would be significant to students, teachers policy makers, educational administrators, theory and practice. The ex-post facto designed study had one research question and one hypothesis which guided the investigation. With the use of random sampling technique, 600 academic staff were drawn from the academic staff population in the two universities studied. Data collection was carried out using “University Policy in the Fight Against Corruption and Economic Development Questionnaire” (UPFACEDQ). Percentages, population t-test and mean rank-order were used to statistically analyze data collected for this study. Results obtained revealed that university policy in the fight against corruption for economic development was not significantly high. The on-going policy in the fight against corruption was not yielding the desired result in the university system. It was therefore recommended that staff and students be taught the moral values for the appreciation of the social advantages in the fight against corruption for economic development.
Keywords: economic development, corruption, fight, university, policy.
Education is a service that significantly contributes within the context of a sound macro-economic and political environment. University education is administered by the society with a view to achieve rapid socio-economic growth and development enough to perpetuate their existence. Desired changes in employment, wealth and productivity proceed a society-related education that guarantees individuals welfare and national development. According to Psacharopoulos and Woodhall (1985), national development is the improvement of a nation’s productive capacity. In Nigeria, this productive capacity can be addressed basically through sound university education policy plans properly aligned with the fight against corruption, apparently intended to grow and develop the economy. This explains the goal of tertiary education as ashrined in National Policy on Education (FRN 2004:36) in Nigeria which specifically intent to:
a. Contribute to national development through high level relevant manpower training
b. Develop and inculcate proper values for the survival of individual and society
c. Develop the intellectual capacity of the individuals to understand and appreciate their local and external environment
d. Acquire both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful member of the society It is the basis of the above that university education managers could ensure increase transparency in social and economic transactions (devoid of corruption) for the common goal of the society since corruption crosses all social sectors. The fact that there is a positive relationship between education and economy confirms that the economy invest in education for significant returns on investment to accure to both individuals and the society (Psacharopoulos, 1972). Education therefore, accelerates economic development on the basis that it impacts knowledge, skills and attitude required for productive activities. Ekpo (2012) adduce that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria grew by 7.68 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, which is slightly higher than the7.40 percent growth in third quarter of the same year. Even in the heart of the global economic crisis in 2008, Nigerian economy registered a growth rate of 6.4 percent. Also, the economic growth is put at eight percent, the rate of inflation is 12.5 percent and the deficit/growth domestic product ratio is around the acceptable range of four to five percent. The foreign reserves are enough to finance at least 12 months of imports. These indices signal satisfactory macro-economic performance of increase growth rates but cannot alter the structure in favour of building a modern industrial economy. Thus, the increase growth is without significant development. The major challenge of such increasing growth rates in Nigeria is that the rates are non-employment generating (UNDESA, 2011). According to Babalola (2007), youth unemployment among graduates in Nigeria borders on the inability of the universities to prepare their students adequately in their various programmes of studies. This is basically because of corruption which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the university system. University education which suppose to be the driving force for producing a desirable output for development turn out to produce output who lack employable skills or skills which are at variance with that required by the labour market. Corruption becomes endemic and results in poor university education system with high rate of youth unemployment. In line with the social indicators from the National Bureau of Statistics as espoused by Ekpo (2011), the rate of unemployment in 2007 was 14 percent; jumping to19.7 percent in 2009 and skyrocketed to 23.9 percent in 2011. About 16 millions Nigerians in 2011 who were able and wiling to work could not find employment. The implication here is that despite the impressive growth rates, the high rate of unemployment couple with the seemingly rising rate of inflation suggest that the economy is in a state of stagflation.
The fight against corruption becomes necessary in order to involve clear mines in the process of re-thinking and re-branding universities for knowledge-base and economic development. Corruption can be defined as inducement to wrong by bribery or any unlawful means. It is a dishonest behaviour by people who work for government and politicians. Fasokun (2010) defined corruption as a behaviour which exploit human person, disdainfully using men and women for selfish interests. Corruption is a phenomenon that has always existed but only in recent years the awareness has grown at the international level (Carr, 2011). In Nigeria, corruption has been a canker worm that has bedeviled all societies (universities inclusive). Ameh (2012) asserts that the recent rating by the Berlin based Transparency International in its 2011 annual corruption perception index report rated Nigeria 143rd out of 183 nations. This menace of corruption though a global phenomenon (not peculiar to Nigeria), has assumed an alarming proportion in Nigeria. Thus, the need to fight corruption consciously in order to achieve set targets or intentions in the practice and culture of legality in the university system. According to Obasanjo (2001), the fall in ideological blocs and globalization of information impact on the economy, contribute to shedding greater light on corruption and making people more effectively aware of it. In the light of this, the university education policy in this study is the administrative plans whose value depends on adequate and appropriate reflection of enduring policy (curriculum contents, finance, and facilities and political system) in the system. The power of a policy can hardly be emphasized because it expresses the plan of action agreed or chosen (Hornby, 2005). The success in the fight against corruption can be achieved where university policy in terms of these variables are articulated and properly implemented with socially responsible behaviors towards socio-economic realities (employment, wealth, income and productivity). This is relevant in view of the nation’s state of public universities being bankrupt, quantitatively and qualitatively (Ekanem, 2011). Universities can make use of the university policy plans such as curriculum, finance, facilities and political system in response to the needs of achieving social intention through effective management (devoid of corruption). The curriculum contents and implementation are external and non-negotiable. The skills, knowledge and values which the university transmits are designed by the society while the output (graduates) is strictly defined by this policy matrix socially determined. Anything outside this, productivity is economically not viable. Lack of transparency in financial management couple with inadequate internal control measures can encourage corruption (Kazakevicus, 2003). This can further worsen with lack of democracy, absence of free press and democratic systems of checks and balances. Corruption also causes serious harm to material resources and places a costly burden on the economy. It can be more harmful to immaterial goods which are closely connected to the quantitative and human dimension of life in society (UNDESA, 2011). Finally, corruption radically distorts the political system in that the role of representative institutions between client’s requests and governmental services are negatively affected (Ameh, 2012). The fact that a university is a political proxy for perspective, the policy provision should be effectively re-aligned with the fight against corruption in order to prevent staff from illegitimate benefits and undue advantage which could be financial or in other forms (Ribadu, 2006). This study is delimited to universities in Cross River State of Nigeria while the major limitation to the study is the scarce literature in the area of study. The study contributes to the filling of such gap and hence to bring added knowledge to literature.
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