Liberal Education in Nigeria
A Case Study of the General Studies Curriculum
Keywords:Liberal education, general studies, curriculum, Africa, Nigeria
Liberal education is a product of the Western academy and is today most prominent in the USA, but in recent years has been described in various national contexts where it has seldom existed before. However, the spread of liberal education has been underexplored in some regions, such as sub-Sharan Africa, and empirical research is limited on how liberal education curricula are adapted in African contexts. In this qualitative case study, I explore the global, national, and local forces that have influenced an African liberal education program—the General Studies curriculum at the University of Nigeria Nsukka—over time. Analysis of primary and secondary textual sources indicates that at the global level the legacies of colonialism, dynamics of globalization, and agency of transnational partners and actors have influenced the character and evolution of General Studies in Nigeria since its inception.
Altbach, P. G., & Knight, J. (2007). The internationalization of higher education: Motivations and realities. Journal of studies in international education, 11(3-4), 290-305.
Cantwell, B., & Maldonado‐Maldonado, A. (2009). Four stories: Confronting contemporary ideas about globalisation and internationalisation in higher education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 7(3), 289-306.
Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000). Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory Into Practice, 39(3), 124-130. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip3903_2
Ezeocha, P. A. (1977). The general impact of Michigan State University/University of Nigeria Program on higher education in Nigeria with special emphasis on Eastern Nigeria; A general review of the innovative program (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1977) (pp. 1-358). Ann Arbor, MI: Xerox University Microfilms.
Godwin, K. A., & Altbach, P. G. (2016). A historical and global perspective on liberal arts education. International Journal of Chinese Education, 5, 5-22.
Godwin, K. A. (2015). The counter narrative: Critical analysis of liberal education in global context. New Global Studies, 9(3), 223-243.
Godwin, K. A. (2013). The global emergence of liberal education: A comparative and exploratory study (Doctoral dissertation, Boston College, 2013) (pp. 1-350). Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.
Godwin, K. A., & Pickus, N. (2018). China’s opportunity: Recommendations for liberal arts innovation. International Higher Education, (93), 27-28. doi:10.6017/ihe.0.93.10423
Hill, R. L. (2019). Institutional logics of curriculum change in the neoliberal academy: Three cases of new programs in arts and humanities at public regional universities (Doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 2019) (pp. 1-197). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.
Lewis, P., & Rupp, K. (2015). Liberal education in Asia: Trends, challenges, and opportunities. New Global Studies, 9(3), 245-266. doi:10.1515/ngs-2015-0028
Marber, P., & Araya, D. (Eds.). (2017). The evolution of liberal arts in the global age. Milton: Taylor and Francis.
Marginson, S., & Rhoades, G. (2002). Beyond national states, markets, and systems of higher education: A glonacal agency heuristic. Higher education, 43(3), 281-309.
Marginson, S., & Sawir, E. (2005). Interrogating global flows in higher education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 3(3), 281-309. doi:10.1080/14767720500166878
Nweke, C. C., & Nwoye, C. D. (2016). Higher education and general studies in Nigeria: A philosophical investigation. Journal of African Studies, 6(1), 1-13.
Nwosu, A. A. (Ed.). (2017a). Development of general studies programme in Nigerian tertiary education. Nsukka, Enugu State: Grand-Heritage Global Communications.
Nwosu, A. A. (Ed.). (2017b). General studies: In 21st century African development. Nsukka, Nigeria: Grand-Heritage Global Communications.
Okonkwo, R. (1986). General studies. In E. N. Obiechina, V. C. Ike, & J. A. Umeh (Eds.), The University of Nigeria, 1960-1985: An experiment in higher education (pp. 296-301). Nsukka, Nigeria: University of Nigeria Press.
Oluikpe, B. O. (Ed.). (1987). National consciousness for Nigeria: In the General Studies Programme of Nigerian tertiary institutions. Nsukka: Nigerian Association of General Studies.
Oluikpe, B. O. (Ed.). (1984). New direction in Nigerian higher education: Focus on general studies. Nsukka: Nigerian Association of General Studies.
Peterson, P. M. (Ed.). (2012). Confronting challenges to the liberal arts curriculum: Perspectives of developing and transitional countries. New York, NY: Routledge.
Pettit, L. C. (1969). The general studies program at the University of Nigeria: It's origin and development, 1960-1967 a summary version. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.
Sklad, M., Friedman, J., Park, E., & Oomen, B. (2015). ‘Going Glocal’: A qualitative and quantitative analysis of global citizenship education at a Dutch liberal arts and sciences college. Higher Education, 72(3), 323-340. doi:10.1007/s10734-015-9959-6
Wende, M. V. (2011). The emergence of liberal arts and sciences education in Europe: A comparative perspective. Higher Education Policy, 24(2), 233-253. doi:10.1057/hep.2011.3
Yin, R. K. (2011). A (very) brief refresher on the case study method. In Applications of case study research (3rd ed., pp. 3-20). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The findings, interpretations, conclusions, and views expressed in Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education (JCIHE) are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed in any manner to CIES, HESIG, or the sponsoring universities of the Editorial Staff. These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License. Readers are free to copy, display, and distribute articles that appear in JCIHE as long as the work is attributed to the author(s) and JCIHE, it is distributed for non-commercial purposes only, and no alteration or transformation is made in the work. All other uses must be approved by the author(s) or JCIHE. By submitting a manuscript, authors agree to transfer without charge the following rights to JCIHE upon acceptance of the manuscript: first worldwide serial publication rights and the right for JCIHE to grant permissions as its editors judge appropriate for the redistribution of the article, its abstract, and metadata associated with the article in professional indexing and reference services.