22nd November, 2010
The employability of Nigerian graduates reared its head again at the 62nd FoundationÂ Day and Convocation of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, when President GoodluckÂ Jonathan urged Nigerian vice-chancellors to evolve a curriculum which will equip theÂ graduates with employable skills.
The President stated that the evolution of a pragmatic curriculum was necessary toÂ reduce youth unemployment in the country.
This is not the first time that a highly placed Nigerian will make this observationÂ or call for the evolution of a curriculum that will make the graduates selfÂ employed. Over the years, as more youths graduated, so did the number of jobsÂ reduce. As youths passed out of higher institutions of learning, factories wereÂ closing down, yet the population grew at an alarming rate. But then, even the fewÂ jobs that were available suffered because it was difficult to fill the positions asÂ the available graduates were said to be unemployable.
Early last year, the vice-president, Nigerian Graduate Advancement Programme, Mrs.Â Oyidiya Alfred, during an empowerment programme organised to help undergraduatesÂ overcome unemployment, identified unemployability of Nigerian graduates as the causeÂ of unemployment in the country. She added that the major problem was notÂ non-availability of jobs but the alarming rate of unemployable Nigerian graduates inÂ the labour market. She added that a major challenge that employers of labour facedÂ was human resources.
This is one problem that we have to start battling if we are serious about ourÂ Vision 20:20:20. Everyone knows that the worldâ€™s fastest growing economies are beingÂ powered by science and technology, which are also vital to the stimulation of humanÂ capital and skills to transform Nigeriaâ€™s economy.
Mrs. Alfred described unemployability as a situation where an individual lacks theÂ basic mental, even though he has had formal education, social practical andÂ developmental skills that will enable him to function effectively at assigned jobsÂ and handle everyday work challenges.
Nigerian youths must begin to add value to themselves. They must not be lethargicÂ about development. Youths should expand their information base and go for extraÂ developmental activities.
We believe tertiary institutions can reverse the trend if they evolve a curriculumÂ that will make entrepreneurs out of the graduates. Independent graduates can easilyÂ become employers of labour instead of job seekers. But it does not end there. AÂ successful and fair election in 2011 will ensure stability. This will in turn assureÂ investors of the safety of their investment. With constant electricity, more jobsÂ will be created and return on investment higher. Dead industries will beÂ resuscitated and then we can begin to look towards the Vision 20:20:20.