1.1 Background to the study
Housing specifically refers to residential structures where people live and grow (Amole, 2002 and Aluko, 2004). It is in response to man’s natural and legitimate need for a conducive and safe environment for living (Akingbohungbe and Ojo, 2005). One variant of this is the students’ housing (otherwise known as Hostel) which is an essential component of institutions of learning in all cultures and climates. It was conceived in step with the philosophy of close and complementary relationship of living and learning.
In Nigeria, students’ housing was traditionally almost exclusively on-campus. With time, however, student population explosion and paradigm shift in the university on-campus accommodation policy combined to give rise to spontaneous development of commercial Off-campus Students’ Housing (Housing) in university towns across the country.
However, up till 1980s accommodation was provided for staff in the campuses and up to 75% of the students had hostel accommodation. Examining the condition of university accommodation system then, Ocho (2006) maintain that those who were at the University of Nigeria as students in the 60s and 70s were comfortable. Conditions in the other first generation universities at the time were about similar. Three – course meals served at breakfast, lunch and supper. Students lived in the room. They neither lacked water nor light in the hostels.
That was the state of the on-campus system then. Today, the story is different. Hostel rooms where they exist are now overcrowded forcing some students to live off-campus. Some universities in Nigeria were approved as non-residential institutions. A good example is the Olabisi Onabanjo University and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Ogun state. There is no adequate planning for students’ accommodation in Nigeria. Similarly, the government’s poor funding of public tertiary institutions in the country has created a lot of problems to both students and educational managers. One of the major problems confronting newly admitted students in any Nigerian university is accommodation. Usually, students come from far and near places away from family connections, only to embrace a baptism of fire, and frustration in terms of campus accommodation. On-campus accommodation is currently inadequate, where it exists; it is very exorbitant and unaffordable for the children or wards of the poor. In most cases, the facilities available in hostels on-campus are deplorable and unfit for human use. In order words, they are not conducive for proper academic pursuit. However, availability is the quest of an average Nigerian undergraduate. Hostel shortages in Nigeria’s universities has become endemic often, this problem is overlooked. However, hostel shortages give rise to an unusual clamour for off-campus accommodation which has more challenges then the on-campus one. Off-campus accommodation is either very exorbitant or the hazards paying transport fares, facing traffic jams and hold-ups while coming to school or doing unnecessary and hazardous long treks before meeting up with lectures and other innumerable problems that accompany living off-campus.
Problems associated with living off-campus result in student frustrations, cultism, poor academic performance, prostitution, illicit and unscholarly demands among students and other hazards. The result is production of half-baked graduates, escalation of vices and slow movement towards development and civilization. Banjo (2000), writes that large numbers of students are forced to live off-campus in cities where it is their responsibility to ensure suitable accommodation for themselves. One undesirable result of this is that even when universities are closed down, gangs are able to mount assaults on the campus from outside and even recruit jobless and equally angry youths from town to join them.
It is true that the genesis of the poor welfare package for students in Nigeria is paucity of funds, but some educational managers encourage off-campus structure abinitio without giving any trial to on-campus arrangement. Some second generation universities including most third generation and state universities have no plan in the first place to build hostels on campus; rather, their interest is to encourage privatization of hostels. Thus, the need to assess the challenges of off-campus residential accommodation is the motivation of this study.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The state of housing accommodation in Nigeria tertiary institutions are indeed in a deplorable condition. In tertiary institutions worldwide, the provision of accommodation to the students’ population takes different models. This includes; non-residential, where students source for their own accommodation. Residential, where the university houses all its students and dual-residential, where the university houses its student population for a period of time only, probably the first and final year, while the students during the remaining period source for their own accommodations. Tertiary institutions require adequate housing provision so as to be able to accommodate students without any physical, psychological or environmental effect. Olabisi Onabanjo University is one of the higher institutions in Nigeria which did not make provisions for students’ accommodation due to policy establishing the school, and this has been taking its toll on both students and communities accommodating them. The students have had to rely on housing provision by different adjacent communities.
Studies such as (Garry, 2009; Murray and Arajuo, 2010; Ojogwu and Alutu, 2010) has revealed that most slum areas that are in proximity to higher institutions are as a result of the population pressure from students who reside therein. Problems like slum development, infrastructural provision difficulties as a result of the haphazard development amongst others are experienced in the areas where these student’s live. These are in addition to violence by students.
Consequently, not many studies have been carried out on the challenges of off-campus residential accommodation system among students. It is this gap the study intends to fill. The question which this study intends to probe is: what challenges does off-campus residential accommodation has on student’s behavior of Olabisi Onabanjo University?
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the study
The aim of this research work is to examine the challenges of off-campus residential accommodation in Nigeria tertiary institutions taking Olabisi Onabanjo University as the case study.
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