1.1 Background to the Study
In today’s environment, brain drain is a prominent phenomenon affecting all sectors of the country. In organizations, numerous valuable skills are being lost due to these incumbents emigrating, leaving the organisation with a gap that is hard to fill in the current scarce and critical skill environment. Studies such as (Docquier and Marfouk, 2006; Uroh 2001), have shown that brain drain also affects the country in two ways; these are Socio- economic effects and demographical effects. Under the socio-economic effects, certain characteristics are more predominate when it comes to the groups of people who emigrate out of Nigeria. Some of these trends indicate there are certain age groups as well as professions who choose to go through the emigration route in search of better opportunities (Abubakar, 2001) . This could result in valuable skills leaving the country. There are also benefits for the country if individuals decide to leave. This move could open up employment opportunities for unemployed individuals as well as opportunities to provide skills training to the working population.
Several factors account for brain drain in Nigerian universities. The oil boom era ended in the late seventies with a decline in oil revenues. In 1986, the continued decline of the revenues from the oil sector led the Babangida administration to introduce the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). With SAP, most of the lecturers found it difficult to make ends meet. Moreover, the unbearable bank interest rates made it impossible to liquidate mortgage loans they obtained after the 1973 face-off with government. Lecturers, especially those approaching retirement age were forced to seek foreign employment to save their houses from the auctioneer’s hammer (Mbanefoh , 1992).
More so, during the Abacha’s administration, attempts were made to improve the standard of living of the low income earners by stimulating appropriate economic activities in the various wards of each local government area in the country through the introduction of the Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) in 1997. Despite the implementation of the programme, its impact was not quiet felt by the University system in the country. As such there was still a great deal of exodus of lecturers from institutions to other private organizations during this period.
Beginning from 1999, the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration has also tried to satisfy its workforce (lecturers inclusive) in the country by introducing the Basic Salary Scheme (i.e 50 percent increase in basic salaries of civil servant) which 25% has been implemented. But since the inception of the programme there has been instability and inconsistency of academic sessions in the University system in Nigeria. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has embarked on different labour strikes due to the fact that the federal government have not been able to meet up with the increase in salaries. This is turn has endangered the University education and also the search for better educational career abroad by students, as well as greener pasture by lecturers.
Brain drain threatens University Educational System with total collapse because there is a growing difficulty in inducing brilliant and able students to come back to the system. This study intends to consider the effects of brain drain on the Nigerian University education and the nation’s economic development in general. Thus considering the factors affecting brain retention and their effects on University education is part of the focus of this research study.
1.2 Statement Of Problem
Over the last few years, the Nigerian University system has been affected seriously from a consistent brain drain of its experienced staff. Hence, much harm has been done to the academia in the Nigerian Universities that whose academic departments are headed by staff of senior lecturers grade. Similarly, the quality of University Teaching and research has suffered. The Universities in Nigeria have been unable to retain sufficient academic staff which constitutes the back bone of development and expansion of any academic institution and which makes it difficult to attain maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the field of teaching, research and public services.
Consequently, this study seeks to determine the brain drain syndrome and its effects university education in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions
Is there any relationship between brain drain and shortage of academic staff?
What are the factors responsible for brain drain in Nigerian universities?
What effect does brain drain syndrome have on higher education in Nigeria?
To what extent does brain drain syndrome affect national development?
1.4 Purpose Of The Study
The purpose of this research is to critically examine the causes of brain drain in Nigerian Universities and its attendant effects on national development using Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye as case study. Specifically, the objectives include:
1. Examine factors that cause brain drain in Nigeria Universities.
2. Assessing the effects of brain drain on the Nigerian University educational system.
3. Examine how brain drain affects the lecturers and student in the Universities.
4. To examine how brain drain syndrome directly or indirectly affect national development
5. To suggest and recommend, practical measures for curbing the continuous brain drain in our educational and national developmental systems in Nigeria.
1.5 Research Hypothesis
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1.5 Scope And Limitations Of The Study
A comprehensive study on the concept of brain drain should include: all academic staff moving out of the University system not as retiring staff or as a result of sickness or secondment, but permanently and intentionally leaving the services of the University to areas referred to as the “GREENER PASTURES”. The reason and the effects for such movement are examined. The study being a case study is limited to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye. The study does not seek to know from those who left, why they left the University but from the University system itself. However, it seeks to know from those still serving in the University the reasons for brain drain and its consequences on the University system as a whole.
Imitations are those factors inherent in the research study that might have affected the process of data collection for this research work. One of the major limitations is the organization’s unwillingness to give out necessary data that will have assisted in the conduct of this research work effectively.
Another limitation is the current harsh economic conditions in the country. Also, time constraint was another factor that limited the coverage of the scope of this study adequately. The findings therefore, from this study is based on information that is obtained from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, as a representative of Nigeria’s University system and national development. The findings have been generalized on all University system in the country.
1.6 Significance Of The Study
The study is significant in the sense that only through such a study that the ills created by this unwholesome development will made manifest and corrected to enhance effective improvement in our Universities and the economy.
It has equally revealed the extent to which brain drain is irretrievable and unfrighteningly crippling to the Nigerian University education in terms of academic quality. It suffices to say that it is only through such a study that those concerned will be compelled to understand and take appropriate measures to curtail the situation.
The study is also significant because it has shed light on some of the major causes of brain drain in Nigerian Universities and possible solutions and recommendation have already been made for minimization of adverse consequences to the entire nations.
1.9 Definition of terms
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