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Governance of Higher Education in Nigeria: a Foucauldian approach

Egbe, C. L. (2018) Governance of Higher Education in Nigeria: a Foucauldian approach. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Governance as desirable is easier to deliberate in theory than to effect in practice. Structural deficiencies relating to the notion and ethics of accountability in the conduct of public affairs are common in Nigeria. Good governance in the public sector is the best way to ensure transparency and accountability to all stakeholders. This study is centred on transparency and accountability in the public sector with a focus on the Higher Education sector and its impact on funding, transparency, accountability and governance. The legal arrangements in the Federal and State universities, the codes of conduct both in universities and the public sector in general, are examined. Thus, this research focuses on stakeholder participation, the enhancement of transparency and accountability in public sector reporting, developing a framework for the adoption of codes of conduct in public sector, to examine the applicability of Foucauldian Governmentality to governance of Higher Education Institutions (HEls) in Nigeria. Therefore, based on a survey within a framework using a Foucauldian lens, this research examines governance and accountability in Nigerian universities. The secondary and primary data are derived from a systematic review of the literature and a total of 70 in depth interviews and focus group discussions with administrators, academics and university governing council members in South-West and South-East Areas of Nigeria. The data collected were analysed using narrative analysis. The study adopts a case study methodology because of the complexity of the scenario under study, and interpretivism is adopted as the philosophical paradigm. The findings reveal that existing reforms are in force in the public sector but tend towards superficial monitoring, hence the need to adopt a more suitable theory of governmentality, which explores self-governance requiring minimal supervision. The findings of the research show that there is inadequate knowledge of the existence and application of the codes of governance in the Higher Education Institutions (HEls), and although measures have been put in place to curb corruption and financial impropriety-they are still found in practice the public sector, hence the application of Foucauldian Governmentality to the study. Foucauldian Governmentality describes value reorientation as the “conduct of conduct” - the much needed changes in the mentality of individuals- to adopt a different way thinking. The theoretical framework of Foucauldian Governmentality is found suitable for this study as it gives guidance on the shaping of the minds of individuals to ensure self-regulation, self-government- the much-needed tool to ensure transparency and accountability in the governance of the HE sector. The study suggests that emphasis should be placed on attitudinal change, the behavior modification of individuals, to ensure compliance with existing governance codes and prevent non-revert to primordial nature of public sector officials, so there has to be a supervisory framework that is visible, practicable and achievable within the Nigerian framework. Furthermore, the study argues that the Foucauldian understanding of the transformation of subjectivities through the reproduction of social, cultural and economic criteria and practices, offers the best possible perspective to engage with present-day political reforms. The study concludes that those charged with the responsibility of governance (the governing) have somewhat defaulted in their responsibility and those governed have mirrored this irresponsibility, and therefore a change in the mentality (mind-set) is urgently required in the Higher Education Institutions (HEls) governance and the public sector in general. This study therefore recommends the application of Foucauldian Governmentality in the governance of the federal and state universities, the adequate participation of stakeholders in the decision making process and the constant training of public sector officials to ensure compliance with the codes of conduct and the overhaul of the mind-set to ensure transparency and accountability in financial reporting. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by applying Foucauldian Governmentality to the governance of Higher Education Institutions (HEls) in Nigeria. Therefore, suggested areas for further studies can be the impact of Foucauldian Governmentality on university governance in Nigeria. In spite of the need to qualify the use of governmentality. I argue that the Foucauldian understanding of the transformation of subjectivities through the reproduction of social, cultural and economic criteria and practices, offers the best possible perspective to engage with present-day political reforms.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Atkins, J. and Barone, E.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:86919
Date on Title Page:2017

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