Alternative funding models for Nigerian Academic Libraries.

Author:Nnadozie, Chuma Opara
Position:Report
 
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INTRODUCTION

The tertiary education sector in Nigeria is made up of three categories of institutions (JAMB, 2012). These are Universities, Polytechnics/Colleges of Technology and Colleges of Education (CoE). Various legislative enactments have established distinct roles for each of these higher institutions. The Universities produce highly-skilled manpower in diverse disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels while Colleges of Education specifically train teachers for pre-primary, primary and junior secondary schools. On the other hand, Polytechnics were originally established to provide middle-level manpower to drive the economy and further the country's technological-cum-scientific aspirations. Liberalization of Nigeria's tertiary education sector has brought about an unprecedented increase in the number of post-secondary educational institutions arising from the involvement of Federal and State Governments, as well as, private organizations. Presently, Nigeria has 108 Universities, 81 Polytechnics, and 109 Colleges of Education approved by various regulatory agencies (JAMB, 2012).

As with other climes, tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria are involved in several degrees of teaching, research, dissemination of knowledge and community development. These tasks are accomplished, largely, through various institutional libraries (popularly called academic libraries), lecture halls, laboratories and workshops. Fafunwa (1994) sees libraries in tertiary institutions as crucial centres in the educational development of man and his environment. This, perhaps, explains why the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), which supervise the three arms of the tertiary education sector in Nigeria, insist on the provision of purpose-built, well-equipped, information resource-rich and adequately staffed libraries, as a pre-condition for approval of these institutions and accreditation of courses offered in them.

The place of academic libraries as capital-intensive educational agencies that require, for their uptimal performance, physical facilities, personnel, accommodation, books, journals, electronic resources, etc have been documented in the literature. (Ehigiator, 1997; Anafulu, 1997; Nnadozie, 2007; Ubogu and Okiy, 2011, etc). To acquire the necessary facilities for the discharge of their statutory responsibilities, these academic libraries require adequate funding for their capital and recurrent expenditures. Presently, such funds come from two (2) main sources, namely; (i) financial allocations from parent institutions, which varies from fixed percentage of an institution's gross/entire budget to adhoc arrangements (Emojorho, 2004 and Akporhonor, 2005) and (ii) yearly financial disbursement from the Education Trust Fund (ETF), established under Education Tax Act No. 7 of 1993, with the objective of using funding with project management to improve the quality of the various levels of education in Nigeria. To strengthen and enable the ETF achieve its mandate, Act No. 7 of 1993 was amended in Act No. 40 of 1998 to impose a 2% education tax on the assessable profit of all registered companies in Nigeria (Nigeria, 1998). The ETF is now called Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET-Fund) following a recent amendment of the original act which has further streamlined and restricted the operations of the fund to periodic financial allocations to the country's tertiary education institutions.

CRUX OF THE MATTER

Contemporary economic realities clearly show that the challenge of diminished funding is exacerbated by inflationary spirals which have diminished the purchasing power of libraries worldwide (Ananwu and Akanwa, 2001). This is in the midst of increasing output of published, unpublished and digitized information sources, as well as, Information and Communication Technology (ICT). As a result, the cost of scholarly information held by academic libraries to support teaching, research and publication continues to increase at an exponential rate. This dwindling library vote, nay, reduced purchasing power, is exacerbated in the developing countries, by an alarming external debt profile (CBN, 1996, and Kalu, 1999), the ongoing devaluation of their national currencies and other austerity measures (Anyanwu and Akanwa, 2001). Added to the foregoing is Ford's (1991) time-honoured reminder that in the higher education sector, academic libraries compete with teaching departments, administrative services and students union for share of their institutions' budget.

The present financial strait into which Nigerian Academic Libraries has fallen is a sharp contrast with the situation during the oil boom era in the 1970s. During the oil boom decade, adequate fund was made available to academic and other libraries in the country from revenue that was flowing into the country's treasury through crude oil sales. This reflected in construction of imposing library buildings; increased frequency of acquisitions; as well as, quality and quantity of new books, journals; and other scholarly publications. However, the decline of Nigeria's economy, which became evident from the early 1980s, naturally took enormous tolls on the funding of these libraries. As governmental financial receipts declined, the once booming economy nose-dived and, as a consequence, it became increasingly difficult to access ample funds for libraries, education and other social services. The decline in the funding of Nigerian Academic Libraries has not improved significantly since the country's economic crises of the early 1980s (Anyanwu and Akanwa, 2001).

For libraries in Nigeria's tertiary institutions to discharge, creditably, their unique and vital roles, adequate funds must be made available. The reality, which is rather disappointing, is that most of those academic libraries receive far less funding than the percentage usually approved for them by both overseeing government ministry/department and the educational institutions under which these libraries operate.. Various efforts to arrest the declining financial fortunes of academic and other libraries in Nigeria are replete in the country's library literature (Anafulu, 1997; Zakari, 1997; Okiy, 2005, Akpohonor, 2005, etc). Worthy of note is the fact that some of these suggestions come from outside the library community (Yabani, 1997 and Fafunwa, 1998). For instance, the allocation of 10% of the recurring annual budget of Nigeria's tertiary education institutions for library services was championed by Universities. This funding arrangement was concretized in a 1992 agreement between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government (Okiy, 2005). The policy has now been adopted by Polytechnics and Colleges of Education which make up the other strata of Nigeria's tertiary education sector. However, the inability of most executives of these tertiary institutions to adhere strictly to this policy continues to constrict and...

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