UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENTIFIC CAPACITY IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Globally, university is the hub of accumulating and transferring knowledge. University education breeds a knowledge-based economy and society (Saint et al, 2003). The primary responsibility of the university is to create knowledge. The creation of knowledge is carried out by universities and research development centers. At the inception, the traditional roles of the university include teaching, research and service; with the objective of producing a meaningful human capital for the growth of the economy. Though, a critical examination of Nigerian universities show that teaching is more pronounced than research, and of late research has been observed to be very useful for long term development of the economy. It should come to the knowledge of universities that but for research, a lot of harm would have been done in the education system. The three significant things research has done both for the university system and the society include: Firstly, without research teaching would have been outdated, but with research lecturers keep updating themselves on information related to their disciplines. Secondly, through conducted researches, universities are made aware of their corporate social responsibilities to their immediate community. Thirdly, it is through researches that universities have contributed their input towards the development of the nation, specifically industries in the country.
Research is a systematic search for knowledge that increases the already existing knowledge. An extension of research is research and development, meaning that research is carried out with the aim of improving the development level of a country. Research carried out by higher education has contributed immensely to the knowledge base of a country. This further explains how world class universities are ranked; there are not ranked based on university’s populations, mode of teaching, or the university’s community services, rather there are ranked based on the university’s output- how many research journals published.
However, it is due to this that the United States invest more on research and development and that is why they have the largest number of world class universities, coupled with large body of knowledge that has greatly developed their economy (Zinberg O. 1986; Castells 1991; Altbach P. 1999, world Bank, 2002 and Bako 2005).
Furthermore, in this 21st century, issues tied to science and technology confronts many nations. Due to this, many nations are striving hard to contend with these challenges in order to be independent in their management of science and technology (Kofi Anan, 2004). It has been proven that some developing countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Brazil, and Singapore have invested much on research and development of scientific capacity and this has led to more creations of industries and made them self reliant to a reasonable extent (Okecha, 1998).
Nigeria and other African countries tend to treat the issue of research and development of scientific capacity with laxity. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) Lagos Plan of Action for the economic development of Africa in 1980 urged member states "to improve existing and create new funding mechanisms to provide funds for the development of their scientific and technological capabilities". The Lagos Plan of Action also recommended the expenditure of at least one percent (1%) of the GNP on Science and Technology activities by 1990. After the year 1990, there are no traces of improvement in research and development of science capacity in Nigeria compared to other countries.
This is the essence of this study, to examine university research and development of science capacity in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, universities in Nigeria have not embarked on meaningful research and development of scientific capacity due to some reasons, which include:
- Embezzlement of funds (corruption)
- Poor or Inadequate Infrastructure
- Lack of Funding
- Lack of Enabling Environment
- Brain Drain
- Poor government interference
- Lack of programmes and policies on research and development of scientific capacity
These are some of the problems associated with university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria, which this study seeks to proffer solutions to.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major objective of this study is to investigate university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
Other specific objectives include:
- To examine the significant relationship between research and long term development of Nigerian economy.
- To examine the challenges confronting university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
- To recommend strategies for the improvement of university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are generated to guide this study:
- What is the significant relationship between research and long term development of Nigerian economy?
- What are the challenges confronting university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria?
- What are the ways of tackling these challenges?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no significant relationship between research and long term development of Nigerian economy.
H1: There is a significant relationship between research and long term development of Nigerian economy.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is meant to inform, educate and enlighten the general public, universities’ administrators, government and policy makers on university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
University administrators need to put into good use funds allocated to them for research, as its benefits are enormous.
On the government’s part, there need to look into research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria, because it has a long term positive impact on the state of the economy. Sufficient funds should be provided by the government to tackle the challenges of research and development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
Similarly, policy makers have a part to play, as they are expected to come up with right policies that will promote research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to university research and the development of scientific capacity in Nigeria.
Limitations of study
- 1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
- 2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
UNIVERSITY: Is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which grants academic degrees in various subjects. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education.
RESEARCH: The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
ACADEMIC STAFF: A member of the faculty of a college or university usually having qualified status without rank or tenure.
Saint W, Harnett TA, Strassner E (2003) "Higher education in Nigeria: A status report.” Higher Educ. Policy, 16: 259-281.
Okecha SA (1998) Science in Africa. Lagos: Stirling-Holden publishers (Nig.) Limited.
Annan, Kofi (2004-12-11). "Independence, Missouri, 11 December 2006 - Secretary-General's address at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library followed by Questions and Answers". United Nations website. United Nations. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
Zinberg D.S (1986) The Legacy of success: Changing Relationship in University based scientific Research in United States in Gibson M. and Withtruck ed.
Castella M. (1991) “The University System: Engines of Development, in the New World Economy” Paper for the World Bank Seminar on higher Education, and Development.
Altbach P.G (ed) 1999 Private Prometheus: Knowledge and development in the 1St century Wes part Conn. Greenwood press.
World Bank (2002) Constructing Knowledge Societies; New Challenge for territory educations. The World Bank Washington.
Bako S (2005) “Globalisation and African Universities: Towards an equitable production of World knowledge economy” Paper presented for Codestria globalization studies
Network, second International Conference on Globalization:
overcoming exclusion, strengthening Inclusion, 29th to 31st
August 2005, Dakar, Senegal.