Thursday, October 25, 2007

The long night of Nigerian academic research

Bibi has just returned from Kampala, where she gave a paper examining and analysing the growing dress code impositions on women in Nigeria. There was a general lament about the state of scholarship in Nigeria amongst the participants. All across Africa, from Ghana to Senegal, from Kenya and Uganda to South Africa, there is a sense of an academic awakening, with funding for interesting and innovative research programmes in the social sciences. Sadly, Nigeria does not figure at all in this awakening, and does not look likely to any time soon. No matter how many new university licences the Ministry of Education might dole out, who is going to teach in them? Nigeria will continue to be the great unresearched and unresearchable, it seems.


MsMak,  2:51 pm  


You suppose know now; in order to justify the high school fees and proclaim their academic superiority, they will most likely bring in expats to teach in these schools, be they from Ghana, Kenya, India, China, the U.S or U.K.

Its sad, but i think its going to be hard to focus on scholarship and academic research like these other countries when the 'basics' aren't even in place. It would be tantamount to a poor man in need of firewood worrying about deforestation. which professor is worried about academic research when all he needs to do is play politics to get to the V.C. office? And he hasnt received a salary in months! Basically, Maslow's hierarchy of needs...

First these universities need to:

1. Pay a living wage (and regularly too!) to academic staff so they can concentrate on their profession and survive without harrassing students to 'buy handouts',chasing contracts or running away to other countries.

2. Improve and maintain facilities that make study and research conducive.

3. Build an economy in which graduates and academia of these universities and their skills and ideas are respected and employable.

I read a few days ago that a young guy built a helicopter-type machine out of scraps, and instead of commendation, or sparking ideas about recycling or manufacturing locally, people are laughing and making fun of the guy. No reward and very little respect for his efforts.

You only need to read a few webbboards to get the idea. Now why would i want to follow in his footsteps?

We need to get the basics right, first.

Anonymous,  4:11 pm  

msmak, academic research is not part of the basics - right?

MsMak,  5:27 pm  

Re: anonymous...

Er, i'd like to see you start serious research without a library. Or even better, a library with little to no books or decades-old material.

Maybe you misunderstand me; i think academic research is very, very important. But you have to provide the facilities and environment that make it possible/conducive FIRST.

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS 8:13 pm  

okay, so I am one of your useless readers...the only part I read was that Bibi is back home...
Go Jeremy...*wink, wink*

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