Experiment with Mass Education in Post-Civil War Nigeria

Ogechi Anyanwu


This study is a historical analysis of the politics surrounding the drive for mass university education in Nigeria in the 1970s, exploring the dynamics and challenges of policy re-configuration, continuities, discontinuities, and shifts. During the colonial period, the British limited access to higher education to many qualified Nigerians. Post-colonial Nigerian governments, however, attempted to realign the British higher education legacies to satisfy the country´s needs for rapid socio-economic development and national integration. This work places the pursuit of mass education at the center of Nigeria´s post-colonial higher education reform, and argues that the attempts since Nigeria´s independence to engage university education in promoting national integration was more pronounced in the 1970s. Inspired by the need to foster national unity after the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970); determined to confront the bottlenecks that impeded access to university education; and influenced by the country´s buoyant oil economy, the military regimes of the 1970s sought to spread universities facilities equitably, implement a policy of free university education, and establish a central admission body. These policies have remained crucial in understanding the challenges of higher education development in Nigeria since 1970.

Ogechi Anyanwu

Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY

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