The conventional wisdom is that the proliferation of and concomitant increase in access to, tertiary education is central to bridging poverty gap in developing country and fast-tracking development. Scholars have also proposed the existence of a nexus between such educational advancements and good governance, especially in terms of the multiplier effect on political education, public participation and public accountability. The proposed paper assessed the conventional wisdom on the nexus between education, development and democracy in Africa drawing key insights from cross-sectional data obtained from national universities in the sub-region. The paper challenged the orthodoxy dominant within the international development community that increase in tertiary education is directly related to improved development and good governance. Although the number of universities have grown over the decade, the paper is keen to show that aside from increasing enrollment and improving access (to the neglect of quality) the preponderance of privately-owned universities, many of them with constricted visions on the open knowledge production and ideals that universities are supposed to represent and pursue, is problematic; indeed, as the paper argues, the political economy that drive their establishment and proliferation does not automatically translate into improved access due to skyrocketing school fees and sundry charges in a continent with a record of about 70% poverty ratio. Furthermore, the peculiar teaching curriculum and authoritarian management styles of the growing number of private universities have the potential to blunt the political and civic consciousness of their students and, in the final analysis, deepen the festering governance crisis in the country.
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