The Department of Economics was established in 1958. It was a small Department offering limited numbers of courses to a small number of students. There were twenty-five students in Economics in 1958. While struggling to cope with the challenges of under-funding, explosion in student population and problem of brain-drain, the Department continues to strive to maintain a minimum level of excellence in its programs, involving a wide array of courses that are available. The tradition of excellence which the Department has established has continued to attract students into the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctoral degree programmes in Economics. The Department admitted for the first time in 1986 a set of students for the newly introduced four-year B.Sc. programme in Economics. By 1987/88, the number of undergraduate students at all levels (major and subsidiary) in the Department had risen to a total of 824 students. There are about eighty students in the master’s degree programme in Economics and thirty-seven in the M.Phil/Ph.D. programmes.
With the phenomenal growth in the number of qualified students seeking admission in recent years, our facilities have been over-stretched. We now have an average of 85 students at each level of the undergraduate B.Sc. programme. Our largest lecture theatre can only accommodate 250 students and hence courses are in some instances taught in two or more streams. Similarly, we have been unable to respond to the increase in demand for our graduate programmes, for reason of lack of space. On average, we are able to admit 75 students annually into the M.Sc. class, 20 into the M.Phil/Ph.D. class and 100 each into the MBA and Masters in Banking and Finance programmes.
It was in an attempt to link the gown and town that the Department introduced the two professional masters programmes in Business Administration as well as in Banking and Finance. These two programmes have been aimed at developing high-level manpower in these professional areas. They have attracted high caliber personnel from the banking and financial institutions as well as the manufacturing sector of industry. The masters degree programme in Banking and Finance was started with a generous initial assistance by the International Bank for West Africa (IBWA), (latter known as Afribank). The Bank was latter metaphorsized to be Mainstreet Bank and taken over by Skye Bank Plc. It was from this funding support that the building for the programme was erected. We have since received assistance from a number of other donors towards enhancing the content and quality of the programmes. These include the First Bank of Nigeria and the Co-operative Bank. There is still so much to be done by way of fully equipping the programmes to raise and maintain their standards at the highest levels possible. For this we will continue to appreciate further assistance from both new and old donors.
In an effort to enlarge the academic scope of the Department to related disciplines, the Senate of the University recently approved the transformation of the Department into full-fledged Faculty of Economics, which is the only known School of Economics in Nigeria. The School incorporates Accounting Department, Banking and Finance Department, and Marketing and Consumer Studies Department, in addition to the Department of Economics. The School of Economics is taking off with Postgraduate programmes in the component Departments, while undergraduate programmes will come on-board later. However, the Department of economics continues to run both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
As a result of the establishment of the University of Ibadan School of Business (UISB), the MBA professional programme of the Department was transferred to UISB, effective from the 2015/2016 academic session, while the Banking and Finance professional programme is being temporarily suspended due to low demand by students. The new Banking and Finance Department will begin by running academic postgraduate programme.
The academic staff strength of the Economics Department has grown over the years, both in number and in quality. The deteriorating conditions on our campuses and the less than competitive conditions of service compared with some African Universities have taken their toll. The Department’s tradition of dedication and commitment of staff to its advancement has ensured that, despite offers from other Universities in Africa and other places, many still choose to remain to continue to contribute their quota. At present, there are a total of twenty-four academic members of staff (far below the required). These are made up of 10 professors, 1 emeritus (professor), 3 readers, 4 senior lecturers, 2 lecturer I and 4 lecturer II.
Given the diversity of expertise in the Department, members of staff continue to make substantive contributions to the country and society at large, by serving not only as advisers to government, but also as members of boards, and through their excellent publications. The Department continues to strive against all odds towards sustained relevance within the context of an underdeveloped economy, yearning for self-sustaining growth and development.
To reposition the undergraduate programme of the Department, the review of the programme curriculum has been undertaken. The document has been subjected to various stages in the process. The content has been considered and approved by the Faculty of the Social Sciences Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Board, and the Board of Study of the Faculty and subsequently, it has equally been approved by the Senate of the University of Ibadan.