USER CHARGES, MARKETISATION OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR ACCESS IN DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: CASE STUDIES OF NIGERIA AND SCOTLAND (1980-2017)
Osuntubo, Oladipo Oriyomi
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Global models of higher education and the degree to which they are influenced by marketisation vary widely. Despite the perception of marketisation reforms in university education being global, literature and focus are heavily dominated by developed countries and the studies that are comparative tend to compare two or more developed or developing countries. Given the perceived global nature of marketisation reforms and its drivers, a gap exists to examine marketisation in the context of a developed and developing country. Consequently, this study and my contribution to the field of public administration is an examination of the marketisation of university education in a developed and developing country context with emphasis on the use of charges and the implications this has for access by evaluating developments in Nigeria and Scotland. Both countries were selected because, despite perceived global nature of marketisation reforms and the expectation that developed countries would exhibit more features of marketisation, they appear to have adopted different approaches to managing HE, particularly on the use of charges for home students. Considerations including the lack of comparable statistical data resulted in the adoption of a qualitative approach for primary data collection with semi-structured interviews conducted with 35 academics and administrators. Research found that while marketisation reforms are partly driven by developed countries and IFIs dominated by them and while some features of marketisation are evident, charges which is a significant feature of market-type reforms is not used in Scotland due to equity of access considerations. Research founds that many developed countries that have charging policies provide services on a quasi-market basis where the government is still directly or indirectly responsible for funding university education due to equity considerations. Developing countries like Nigeria on the other hand, partly due to pressures from external partners have embraced a pure market approach to service delivery which has seen the responsibility for funding university education shifted away from the state and onto students and their families, resulting in access being dependent on the ability to pay upfront, disenfranchising many due to lack of state support, credit or exemption systems. Secondary findings on wider features of marketisation indicated the presence of many features of marketisation in university education in Nigeria and Scotland and revealed a point of intersectionality between the HE systems in developed and developing countries due to marketisation reforms. Many students from developing countries now study with HE institutions based in developed countries and pay a premium in the process because some of the supposed benefits of marketisation are not evident in their home countries. Implications for developing countries include a suggestion to focus more on what external partners do and less on what they say. While marketisation in the context of quasi-markets delivers some of the benefits which justify marketisation in Scotland; in Nigeria, marketisation delivers few benefits and has significant negative implications for access due to continued undersupply, increasing costs and the state abdicating its role in society. The study shows that equity of access and some of the other benefits of markets in HE can only be guaranteed by state intervention through regulation and funding, highlighting policy transfer challenges. The study highlights the limitation of markets in service provision in certain contexts and significance of the state.