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KNOWING ABOUT THE PAST: “THERE WILL BE NO EXPLOITERS IF THERE ARE NO EXPLOITABLES” – Obafemi Awolowo; Quoting Lenin — THE GLORIOUS YEARS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA:

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THE GLORIOUS YEARS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: The focus of this piece is on the University College, Ibadan, the first university to be established in Nigeria. TERRIFIC HEADLINES will then take you to the 25th anniversary celebrations of the institution founded in 1948 under a special relationship with the University of London.  Decades before the university came into existence, young Nigerians in pursuit of higher education gathered to read and studied together.  Aspirations were very high. People even stayed at home to earn university degrees while also engaged in full-time work. Those who have achieved this objective include Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who bagged a Bachelors of Commerce degree in Nigeria, and later travelled to London to pursue his degree in law. Many of the Nigerians of that era subscribed to Wolsey Hall, an institution in London that provided tuition by correspondence. PREPARATION: Several studious Nigerians were able to acquire Intermediate Bachelors degree utilizing that route. Since the latter half of the nineteenth century, Nigerians trooped in significant numbers abroad in pursuit of higher education.  The United-Kingdom was the major attraction while Fourah Bay University, Sierra-Leone also trained a substantial number of Nigerians. A few others headed for the United-States of America. In Nigeria, The Yaba Higher College (established in 1932 but formally opened in 1934) and the Yaba Medical School (established in 1930), which granted diplomas and certificates in selected subjects, hardly satisfied the aspirations of those who longed for university education. The Yaba Higher College’s phase of education in Nigeria further illustrated the desire of Nigerians for degrees, diplomas and certificates which were not inferior to those awarded by universities in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.  So long as British officials did not envisage self-government for Nigerians and senior posts in the public service were reserved for expatriates, pleas for university education in Nigeria fell on deaf ears. A publication on the history of the University of Ibadan asserts that the British Government seriously considered the possibility of establishing universities or university colleges in the Commonwealth, and in West Africa particularly, during World War II. THE FIRST UNIVERSITY IN NIGERIA: The Asquith and Elliot Commissions, -both set up in 1943-reported on various aspects of this problem in 1945.  The majority and minority reports of the Elliot Commission agreed on the establishment of a university college in Nigeria.  The Asquith Commission concentrated on the fundamental principles, which were to guide the development of…

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