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"University overhaul could fill employment gaps"
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"University overhaul could fill employment gaps"

Ayo MorakinyoNigeria is a big consumer of technological products from other countries yet produces little of its own. The government should be commended for promoting entrepreneurship to fill this gap, writes Ayo Morakinyo, 25, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria. He says the government should also create opportunities for people not interested in entrepreneurship.

It is unfortunate that in spite of various economic reforms ongoing in the sphere of Nigerian leadership, the nation has remained a major consumer of technological innovation.

Unlike countries that comprise the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and have developed an economic edge, we have a large population that consumes technological gadgets and produces very little in return. Except for the media industry which has successfully produced and transferred elements of our culture through entertainment products that are available online, Nigeria has limited contribution to technological innovation on a global scale.

However, some encouraging works that can address this issue are in progress*. It seems that the Nigerian government has now realised the need to change the mindsets of the people from the idea of using opportunities to creating them. Training programmes that are capable of empowering the youth have commenced and efforts to provide financial support to promising ventures are afoot. The government’s focus on unemployed graduates of tertiary institutions in this regard has shown some commendable results.

Now there is another factor that requires the consideration of government. While it is critical to develop as many entrepreneurs as possible, it is impossible for every youth to become an entrepreneur. Some people are not gifted to carry out the functions of an entrepreneur. Even after much training and financial support, it will take more personal effort, for instance, for persons of phlegmatic temperament to really do well in business ventures. In view of this, one would expect that the Nigerian government, through its agencies, would consider the creation of an alternative for persons in this group.

One suggestion would be to restructure our educational syllabus at the university level. Courses such as Zoology, Botany and Archaeology are fantastic and useful to both the academic community and life outside the university. Unfortunately, graduates who major in such courses hardly find any means of employment upon graduation. This is because there is no industry absorbing such inexperienced professionals in the economic sector. Consequently, they have to take additional degrees or scout for the relatively few companies that still offer employment consideration regardless of the applicant’s area of undergraduate study.

Such courses should either be remodelled or scraped by some of the universities offering them, while new and more relevant ones should be developed. Tertiary institutions in conjunction with the Nigerian University Commission should take responsibility for university products and track their trend of occupation and performance outside the academic community.  This will enable them to have proper statistics of contemporary careers paths for their current students and effectively guide them through the provision of relevant training.

An instance of this is seen in the Nigerian telecom sector, where graduates cannot be readily absorbed into the industry because the training they receive in the university is archaic and incompatible with the current technologies and practices.

In another instance, if one considers the problem of power outage existing in Nigeria today, one would expect power engineering to be taken as a course in the university from freshman year to final semester so that engineers who can proffer solutions to power problems can be trained to either work on their own or seek employment. There are several other areas where similar changes are required. Government should evaluate these areas.

As Nigeria observes her 14th anniversary of its fourth democratic rule this year, the youth can only hope that the government takes decisions that will be beneficial to their future.

God bless Nigeria!

photo credit: US Army Africa via photopin cc

*Examples of programmes being implemented to sponsor entrepreneurial initiatives in Nigeria are the federal government’s YOUWIN and the Lagos state government’s Lagos Ignite. A special internship initiative providing university-educated youths with professional experience is the federal government’s SURE-P initiative.

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About me:

I am an animated and artistic writer hailing from the southwest region of Nigeria. I hold a degree in electronics and electrical engineering and am certified as an IT professional.

On days when I am not busy with engineering and management activities, I write prose poems, short stories and journalistic commentaries. In the coming years, I hope to help other people’s lives around the world and aid in the reformation of Africa.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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