Why Nigerian Graduates Will Continue To Be Unemployable
YOUTH unemployment in Nigeria has been blamed on the youth unjustly over the years. Despite that, it remains a popular discourse in the media, online and offline, the country’s record of youth unemployment keeps getting worse.
This is a problem that poses a grave danger to the sustainability of the nation’s economic development, yet it has attracted nothing more than a talk shop treatment from relevant authority with make-shift programmes like N-Power.
As though the indignity of such schemes is not enough, the older generation also branded Nigerian youth lazy. One of such remarks proceeded from one of those who should be held responsible for whatever the problem with Nigerian youth is.
In his view, the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Professor Biyi Daramola, believe that Nigerian graduates are unemployed because they lack self-discipline and commitment to the vigorous academic pursuit.
Even if this is the case, the likes of a Vice Chancellor should only say that sorrowfully and with a deep sense of responsibility, not cheerfully washing his dirty linen in the open. Who else should be called to explain the mournful collapse of the competence base of the Nigerian youth if not those who are given the responsibility to provide quality education?
The education of Nigerian students is taken lightly by the government. This is reflected in the recent allocation of budget.
Nigerian education sector has allocated 15 to 20 percent of national budget recommendation by UNESCO.
The global organisation recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable nations to adequately cater to rising education demands.
Unfortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget to education.
We, then, lie to ourselves when we say we are developing because if a sector in a country is underdeveloped, it affects other sectors of the country.
The total sum allocated to the education sector is N605.8 billion, with N435.1 billion for recurrent expenditure, N61.73 billion for capital expenditure and N109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission.
The allocation is lower than the 7.4 percent the government gave the education sector in the of N7.4 trillion 2017 budget. Education cannot grow this way, Rather we will have more illiterates, dropouts who will not be fit for the labour market. Due to this, low educational achievement and unemployment are inevitable.
Implementation of the paltry budgetary allocation is even a bigger problem.
Poor funding has been identified as the major reason for the shortcomings in the education sector, especially tertiary education, which has led to frequent strikes by teaching and non-teaching staff since the early 1990s.
Between 1992 and 2017, university lecturers went on national strike 20 times, with the attendant adverse effects on education at the tertiary level.
The industrial actions were embarked on following the failure of the government to implement agreements reached with the academic union.
By the economic standard of today, Nigerian lecturers are not well paid.
Therefore, they are nonchalant about ensuring that their students attain academic excellence.
When lecturers strike, academic calendars of universities are often disrupted, curricula are not covered, and the country is affected.
Consequently, ill-equipped graduates with limited or even deficient knowledge of their area of specialization will be produced.
It should not be newsworthy that such graduates are grossly incompetent youth.
Rather, it should be news if they are actually employable and fit for the job market, considering the collapsed system of education that produces them.
It is not surprising that our leaders have refused to think outside the box since they are less affected. They are not concerned.
They give their children the best education and ensure that they secure white-collar jobs. How then will they think about the unemployed Nigerian graduates?
In the midst of this sorry situation of the Nigerian tertiary education is the growing call for an increment of the tuition of state-owned tertiary institutions.
It is true that what is paid as tuition in those tertiary institutions is quite low.
However, it is exactly what is just right for the extremely poor quality of services provided by the institutions.
There are dilapidated facilities in most universities without maintenance or repair.
Outdated curriculum with which Nigerian students are trained also play a role in their unemployability.
The world is evolving through technological advances and the labour market evolves with it.
Lecturers in tertiary institutions use obsolete teaching schemes most of which are not relatable to the 21st century.
They teach students with knowledge of what was used in getting employment in the 1960s and 1970s without taking into cognizance the fast-paced evolution of science and technology.
I believe if the curriculum is amended or renewed, it is possible for students to be groomed academically, preparing them for the global market. If not, ill-trained graduates can only be unemployed.
But when will these problems be solved? When will the government, leaders, tertiary institutions admit that they are also at fault? Will they remain deaf and we dumb? Education should be taken with so much significance and unemployment of youths should not be a problem.
A food for thought for our leaders will be that they should think more and eat less.
Much intelligent youth will be capable of working in reputable companies and generating more revenue for the economy.
As a matter of fact, youth who secure job earn an independent living and cease to constitute a burden on the economy.
To justify the thesis that Nigerian youth are unemployable because they are unfocused and indiscipline, a number of things need to be done.
The government should allocate sufficient fund to the education sector and implement a dignifying salary scheme for lecturers.
School management should also provide students with access to e-books and printed materials in a 21-century library environment, decent accommodation, update the curriculum for relevance and competitiveness, provide functional laboratory, and restore affordable cafeteria and laundry services and other things that can facilitate learning.
Only then will anyone earn the right to blame Nigerian youth for being solely responsible for their unemployability.
But as long as the status quo continues, Nigerian graduate will continue to be unemployable in today’s competitive business environment that prioritises relevant skills over moribund pre-industrial age skills.
This piece was extracted from Nigerian Tribune. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.
Source: Nigerian Tribune.