The Christian Missions and the Development of University Education in the Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, 1999-2021: A Historical Analysis
The main thrust of this paper is to historicise the role of the Christian missions in the development of university education in Nigeria in the Fourth Republic. While the year 1999, marked the birth of the Fourth Republic as well as the second attempt towards the involvement of the private sectors (Christian missions inclusive), the year 2021 was when the last batch of private universities were granted provisional licences of operation by the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission. There is no doubt that the history of educational development in Nigeria has its origin in the activities of the private sectors, that is, the Christian missions. Meanwhile, their involvement in the development of western education in the country between the late 19th and 20th centuries was mainly confined to the provision of primary and secondary education. Up to the birth of the Fourth Republic in 1999, the provision of university education in the country was exclusively the responsibility of both the Federal and the State governments.
Although an attempt was made during the Second Republic, 1979-1983, to encourage private sector participation, this eventually
failed. The paper argues that availability and accessibility to high-quality university education can be meaningfully achieved through public-private collaboration as seen in the developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Western Europe.
Active involvement of non-state actors would help the government to mobilize financial resources to meet more pressing public
service needs. The methodology adopted for this work is historical, qualitative and quantitative, utilising materials from both primary and secondary sources.