STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES INFRASTRUCTURAL FRAMEWORK FOR EXCELLENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF COVENANT UNIVERSITY, NIGERIA
For every world-class university emphasizing student learning as a core principle, students and their parents expect campuses provide: safe and secure environments for student learning; high-quality facilities and services responsive to student needs in a technological and “instant” environment; and beyond classroom experiences to facilitate opportunities for student growth and development toward successful careers and life post graduation. Nigeria has 129 approved universities (40 Federal, 39 State, and 50 Private). Her undergraduates are confronted with inadequate structures and facilities; inadequate housing; overcrowded classrooms; and a dearth of reading materials. Researchers based any education system’s success on principles of excellent learning and teaching material, high quality student support services, and efficient logistical systems. Student Support Services and Strategies (SSS) are approaches to enhancing students’ success through services to resolutely meet all learners’ needs.
This paper’s objective is to present a functional and sustainable student support services infrastructural framework for excellent academic performance in tertiary institutions.
We used causal research design to assess the impact of student support services structures on admission in Nigerian universities.
Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of Universities had over 36 months of learning-disruptive incessant strikes between 1999 and 2013 for reasons including erratic power supply and inadequacy of student support services infrastructures for conducive teaching and learning environments. Only about 5.2% to 15.3% get university admission yearly. Many universities deviated from their carrying capacities (CC) between 10.60% and 97.67%. A few operated below their CC. 14.55% (2004/05), 8.40% (2005/06), 11.02% (2006/7), 11.78% (2007/2008), 18.97% (2008/2009), and 28.97% (2013/2014) of qualified candidates got university admission. In 2013/2014, 6.46% (University of Ibadan, UI, CC = 5720), 19.80% (University of Lagos, UNILAG, CC = 6500), and 64.36% (Covenant University, CU, CC = 2500) of applicants matriculated. 71.03% to 94.8% of applicants are denied admission yearly largely due to infrastructural constraints and carrying capacity problems. As universities (e.g. UI and UNILAG) engage private partnership in building hostel accommodation on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis to war housing issue, all CU students reside on campus (9236-CC 10 halls of residence). CU students’ excellence has been sustained by peerless academic calendar; Faculty Support Programme; modern technology-based teaching and learning resources; internet services; students’ evaluation system, and 24hr-power/water supply since 2002. CU records the first in Africa to host two Nobel Laureates in May 2014. The developed framework’s typical elements for excellent academic performance include stakeholders, university expectations, and requisite infrastructures representing an important tool for deepening stakeholders’ understanding of what works, where, and why.
A nation’s future depends on the quality of her citizenry’s education. It can be threatened by lack of SSS structures. University admission increase is mainly contingent on adequate SSS infrastructure for effective teaching and learning, excellent performance, and sound intellectual development. The salient SSS structures in CU, rare feats in Nigeria, exemplify the required framework.