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The Growth of Marketing Education in Nigeria (A Study of Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria)

Marketing is that pervasive field of study in which the nation’s developmental needs rely yet it is the most neglected managerial function in Nigeria. Little wonder why the Nigerian nation has not achieved the much desired economic emancipation and prosperity as the developed countries of the world. The field of marketing has among other things been jeopardized by the problems of choice and adaptation of the higher education curriculum to the specific conditions of Nigerian life and development. Nigeria is in a difficulty about what should be done. In his view, Ogwo E. held that the study and practice of marketing in Nigeria have yet to be accorded the requisite recognition, stressing that even with the best effort marketing in the Nigerian society has not yet succeeded in making the Nigerian society fully aware of the critical role it plays in enhancing and sustaining Nigeria’s development. It has been suggested for example that the education of the average Nigerian Marketer consists of an inexpert adaptation and adoption of theories, concepts and even curricula of the societies in Europe and America. Since the major thrust of marketing and its peculiar contribution to societal development consist of ensuring the satisfaction of the consumer, and since in our case, this consumer is largely Nigerian, it follows that the educational plans for the marketing profession in Nigeria must be indigenous – Ogwo E.(2004).

The fact remains that our pioneer marketing educators in Nigeria like J.O. Onah, Olakunle Iyanda, late NG Nwokoye, late E.O. Ani as well as E.J. Etuk left varied legacies that need to be synthesized into a harmonious whole to achieve a well-rounded marketing professional of the future. Future marketing education and planning in Nigeria can be enhanced by the understanding of the curriculum roots of such early commercial education and the historical antecedents of the origins and sources of marketing education.

Onah (1979) defines marketing education as being concerned with exposing young and new entrants to business, young executives with some experience of business and older and more


senior executives with a great wealth of job experience, to the body of knowledge that has been developed, and is being developed in marketing. He also views marketing training as the overall process where an individual’s behaviour is changed or modified to a predefined and specified pattern in marketing.

Marketing is a dynamic and pervasive field. Its effect is felt in all sectors of the economy. Every business organization requires marketing skill for success. Therefore every business organization should see itself as a marketing organization. Even those in Government have dearth need for marketing skill and acumen to perform better. Consumer satisfaction requires both demographic and psychographic studies as well as the study of consumer behaviour. To be able to formulate better policies and initiate actions that will better the lot of the common man, the bottom line is the acquisition of marketing education and training. This has become imperative stemming from the fact that marketing is the environment we live in.

Kotler is of the view that a marketing department or programme will have to serve at least four types of students and no single suit will fit all of them very well. The first student type, Kotler explains, is the non-marketing major going into business who needs a course or two in marketing so that he does not go into finance, manufacturing or personnel with any underestimation of the central importance, complexity and challenge of marketing. It is for these students, he says that the marketing concept was invented. The second student type is the marketing major going into line management and which constitutes the majority of students and this explains the “action” Orientation of most curricula. The third type is the marketing major going into staff work who is indeed the step-child of most programmes, while the fourth type is the marketing major going into teaching, who he laments, seems to be a total orphan (Onah 1979).

The fact remains that the marketing programmes of most institutions in Nigeria, where they exist at all are most inadequate to brace up to the afore-mentioned challenges raised by Kotler. To say the least, the training aspect is also treated with contempt. Most marketing


education curricula in Nigeria have not recognized the need for Industrial training, entrepreneurial, technical and vocational skills. The marriage of marketing education with training would then produce the type of material that Nigeria seems now to need in the marketing as well as the general management areas - Onah (1979:221).

Educational models are culture specific. This means that marketing education and training in Nigeria setting must seek ways of transmitting the norms, values, science, resources; arts and the world view of the culture in which it is a part. In line with the above contentions, the aim of traditional African education is multi-lateral and the end objective is to produce an individual who is honest, respectable, skilled, entrepreneurial, co-operative and self- reliant.

The dawn of British colonialism affected the cohesion of traditional education in Nigeria by introducing the western type of education which was alien to the Nigerian culture. While the goal of the traditional mode of education was intended to preserve the ethos of indigenous entrepreneurs, skills, arts, science, values, architecture, craft, marketing, the western form of education was diversionary and exploitative.

The introduction of western type of education compelled the adaptation of imported educational, values, philosophy, objectives, theories, concepts and practices. The curriculum and pedagogic strategies quickly sought to align with the new educational order. According to Olaitan et al (1994:29) the new colonial political and educational system had a certain charm and excitement that seemed to drown the traditional educational order.

At this point, I want to stress that the relationship between Marketing Education, self reliance in pre-literate Nigeria was a symmetrical one. Although it was informal, marketing education at that point prepared the youths to be independent in the “what?”, “when?”, and “how?” of marketing occupations. During this period, public sector employment was non-existent and private sector employment was specialized and restricted. Master traders and business captains were by and large, the major private employers of labour. Therefore, the ultimate goal of traditional marketing education in pre-literate Nigeria was to produce individuals who would be self-employed and self-reliant. The idea of self-employment or self-reliance was the collective consciousness of the people. The relationship between western type of education


and self- employment education in the Nigerian context has been rather multivalent. The westernized type of education in Nigeria produced youths who are dependent on white-collar jobs with a broad-base in public sector employment, encouraged trade unionism which can use restrictive trade practices to reduce or stifle self-employment drive. Furthermore, the theoretical nature of formal education in Nigeria seems to give rise to a group of people who have lost confidence in creativity self employment, entrepreneurial skill and it is at the danger of mass producing miscreants, the disaffected and rejected, the misdirected, the unlearned, the angry, the wronged, agitated and hopeless. According to Ezepue (2000} we do not just have an educational crisis on our hands, we have a national crisis. One that calls for radical; and urgent solution stressing that there are clear indications of the critical state of affairs all around us in our homes, in schools and in society, from declining academic standards to crumbling infrastructure to the unsustainable cost-structure of education. According to him, other key issues are legacy examination systems (only parameter for measuring academic performance and productivity) and curricula, non-implementation of policies, corruption of the monitory and policing systems and lack of strategic support from civil society. These according to him have created schisms to society, leading to massive brain drain, a technology gap between Nigeria and other nations and gross unemployment. He stressed that Nigeria educational system has created two demographics – those educated locally and those educated abroad (or in diaspora). The resultant effects on society are socio-cultural anomalies such as the deviant retooling of a generation indulging in 419, cyber crime and violence. To salvage this misnomer, I believe holistic, entrepreneurial, technical, problem-solving, vocational, intellectual and employability learning techniques should be incorporated and entrenched in our marketing education curricula. Recent research by the UK Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE) On Enhancing Student’s Employability, stated that employability can be delivered through curriculum / programme design and assessment processes. The centre for employability at the University of Lancashire in the UK defines employability as:

A set of skills, knowledge and personal attributes that make an individual more likely to secure and be successful in their chosen occupation(s) to the benefits of themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy.

A study of the contemporary and historical antecedents of marketing education in Nigeria figured out poor quality education resulting from low students motivation and capacity to


learn, poor curricula, lack of teacher quality [ineffective teaching skills, research and service]; course contents not based on concepts, theories and tools students will encounter in their first job, lack of marketing laboratory and information technology [ IT] facilities as the major inhibition of functional marketing education. It is against this backdrop that the Federal Government of Nigeria stated unequivocally in its ‘National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy [NEEDS] document [2005:34] that Nigerian educational system emphasizes theoretical knowledge at the expense of technical, vocational and entrepreneurial education.

The decision to bridge this gap informed this study. Marketing education plays a pivotal role in economic development stressing that marketing education and economic development are intertwined and cannot be treated in isolation especially in a small market economy like Nigeria. The economic development of the Newly Industrialized Countries [NICs] and the Asian Tigers are rooted in the adoption of an Outward Market Oriented Philosophy [international market relevance] coupled with efficient health care and innovative education. The major thrust of this study was therefore aimed at determining ‘Systems-Innovative and Functional Tertiary Marketing Education Models capable of addressing the inadequacies of the present pedagogic model.


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