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Gender in the Making of the Nigerian University System

Overview

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This study maps the changing character of the university system in Nigeria, with a particular focus on gender. Charmaine Pereira analysis furthers our understanding of the gendered workings of university education by examining four questions:

Chairmaine Pereira examines a wide range of gender issues within the Nigerian university system, while concentrating on the federal universities. She looks at the empowering possibilities of education, especially for women, an approach that examines issues of power vis-à-vis the individual and society in contrast to the prevailing functional approach towards education in contemporary Nigerian society. Although the university system tends to be spoken of in gender-neutral terms, she finds that the effects of its workings are far from gender neutral and that gender disparities are glaringly obvious.

Using gender analysis, she outlines the parameters of the university system in Nigeria and its development; this enables her to highlight gendered implications even where none are presumed to exist. She draws attention and applies scrutiny to those things that are taken for granted within and beyond the academy. They include the presumptions that the voices of authority, the producers and targets of knowledge and the majority of decision makers are male. To Pereira the prevalence of the system is not an adequate justification of its inequity. She concludes that the masculinist processes and structures of norm setting ought to be recognized as the problem, rather than simply recognizing the effects in terms of the absence of women in universities.

Following the Introduction, in Chapter Two the study discusses the historical basis for the educational system in Nigeria, as the overall system within which the university system is located. The intention is to draw attention to the regional, subregional and class dimensions of the system, which configure gendered processes and relations that continue to have an impact today. The discussion then turns in Chapter Three to the post-colonial context within which the university system has grown in Nigeria. The contemporary configuration of university education and its gender politics form the subject of Chapter Four, exploring the legal framework underlying the system and the nature of the educational bureaucracy. Chapter Five examines the policy environment and the relations between the university system and the job market. This is followed by Chapter Six that addresses the politics of funding the university system and its implications for the quality of university education. Universities are examined as gendered institutions in Chapters Seven and Eight, focusing on access, student enrolment, academic staff strength as well as institutional culture and equity agendas. Finally, sites of reform in the university system and the implications for greater gender equity are discussed in Chapter Nine, before presenting the conclusions and recommendations in Chapter Ten.

© 2017 Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. Last updated: 12 October 2010