NIGERIAN GRADUATES AND UNEMPLOYABILITY: WHICH WAY FORWARD? ~ Welcome to Obinna Onyenali's Blog Welcome to Obinna Onyenali's Blog: NIGERIAN GRADUATES AND UNEMPLOYABILITY: WHICH WAY FORWARD?

Friday, September 26, 2014

NIGERIAN GRADUATES AND UNEMPLOYABILITY: WHICH WAY FORWARD?



The rate of unemployment in Nigeria has over the years remained a trending topic. Majority of graduates churned out of our higher institutions remain unemployed after many years of study. To be frank, the nation’s educational structure has systematically failed to equip Nigerian graduates with the 'technical know-how' to fit in a contemporary work environment.

Many are churned out from universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, etc ill-equipped to tackle the challenges that a competitive world has to offer. We need to bridge the gap between knowledge acquired in our schools and current work reality in order to solve the problem. The question should be, ‘How do we go about this?’ Continue...
There is need to bridge the gap between what is taught in higher institutions and the present workplace realities. The education curricular in the country should be reviewed to expunge disciplines that are not practicable. There should be no room for the teaching of archaic 16th Century principles because they are not relevant in the modern world. The truth is that many of the things taught in our Ivory Towers are not feasible today. Usually you find some people studying courses that they have no business studying, just to have the certificate. This creates a scenario where certificate holders become square pegs in round holes.

Another veritable means of breaking the jinx of graduate unemployability is by the establishment of functional Guidance/Counseling units in secondary schools to serve as a guide to the young students in choosing the right courses when ripe for tertiary education. This will make for a better future as it will facilitate the generation of graduates whose services will be in demand after school. 

Many promising talents have dabbled into ‘wrong disciplines’ just because they had no one to guide them in making their choices. I fondly remember the role my English teacher played in making me choose Mass Communication out of other options. She was able to dissect for me what each of the courses entailed. Thank God her experience helped me in my choice. We should avail this privilege to every child.

One more thing, in my opinion, to do in rectifying this ugly situation is for government and other stakeholders to organise re-orientation programmes for graduates in the country to know the things required of them to succeed in landing their dream jobs and excelling in them. This will help provide the missing link. We might as well assume that everybody knows, but the assumption is erroneous. 

A good example of the re-orientation programme is the Ignite programme, organised by the Lagos State Government in partnership with Afterschool Graduate Development Center (AGDC). It serves as an eye-opening platform to the flaws of our 'school curricular'. In 2012, I took part in the AGDC programme and the knowledge I acquired in about 3 weeks of training on work ethics and what organizations are looking for in their prospective employees could not be acquired in my four years of university education. That shows that something is definitely wrong with our education system and there is need for change.


I will end this write-up with this quote, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity” (Albert Einstein); let's turn a new leaf to save the future of this country.

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