The prevalent conception of the university in virtually all developing societies is that of a developmental university. This idea insists that universities in developing countries must be relevant for and committed to national development. It is expected to generate ideas, train manpower, and provide services for the furtherance of human equality, dignity and development.
The idea of a developmental university is reflected in the 1981 Nigerian National Policy on Education, especially where it is stated that the curriculum should aim at producing practical persons, and the course content should reflect national needs, and not just a hypothetical standard.
Likewise, the drive towards making Nigerian universities essentially developmental is evident in the University of Ibadan Vision for the 21st Century. Here, it is stated explicitly that the basic objectives of the University include making University of Ibadan more responsive to global demands, the national needs of the country, as well as those of other universities and graduates.
Factors that Encourage the Wide Acceptance of Developmental University
Several factors underlie the wide acceptance given to the notion of developmental university in many developing countries.\
- One of these is the sense of national responsibility expressed, either collectively or individually, by university authorities and academic staff that the intellectual and physical resources of the university should be placed at the service of the nation as long as this pursuit is consistent with the teaching and research objectives of the
- Second is that the idea of developmental university is encouraged by government. This is achieved by commissioning contract research and consultancies on specific development problems, sponsoring civil servants for in-service trainings programmes to equip them for development projects, and prescribing national service for university students in an attempt to instill in them basic development
- A third factor is financial in nature. There is the general perception that universities should justify the huge amount of money expended on them by ensuring that they address the pressing problems that hinder social
- From another perspective, universities also tend towards issues of development in order to attract or compete favourably for allocation of resources from government. The underlying assumption here is that because universities have high costs, they need to be practically relevantto the problems of development as well as other areas of social
- This fact is further accentuated by the fact that the pressure of allocation of resources among the three tiers of education, the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, necessitate that universities always demonstrate that they should have access to the scarce
The interests and focus of the international donor community constitute the fourth factor that pressure universities towards developmentalism.
Donor agencies are mostly only interested in giving aids, grants and other forms of support to those universities that are relevant to national development by adopting a problem-solving approach to social problems as well as those problems peculiar to the system of education itself.
Hence, universities, in order to access foreign grants, tend to focus more on issues pertaining to development.
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