Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Nigeria possesses the largest university system in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although South Africa’s tertiary enrollments are higher, Nigeria boasts more institutions. Nigeria has over 75 universities as at 2005 (Adedipe, 2005), about 41 polytechnics and 62 colleges of education as at 1998 (UNESCO, 2000a). In less than 50 years of tertiary education in Nigeria, the enrolment which was 210 in 1948 increased to 392,683 in 1996 (UNESCO, 2000a:87). As at 2005 Nigeria had 23 private universities. As the Federal Universities grew in number and students enrolment, State Universities started emerging in 1979 with the Rivers State University of Science and Technology taking the lead. In the same vein, the emergence of private providers of university education in Nigeria became a reality when the first three Private Universities were licensed to operate in 1999 after an earlier failed attempt. Currently, Nigeria has one hundred and one (101) universities comprising twenty-seven (27) federal universities, thirty-three (33) state universities and forty-one (41) private universities. The staff strength of Nigerian universities is 99, 464 comprising of 27, 394 academic staff and 72, 070 non-teaching staff. The current total students enrolment in Nigerian universities stands at 1, 096,312 (Okojie, 2009).