For Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy to overcome her growing unemployment challenges in the foreseeable future, industry experts have called for a pragmatic collaboration between universities and industry in Nigeria’s education system.
They insist universities need to be able to leverage on the huge expertise available in the industry to train undergraduates, stressing that by so doing, the country can create opportunities that will in turn reduce production of half baked graduates and improve job creators.
Chief executives and human resources experts are advocating for a connection between theory and practice in the approach to teaching and learning using the business simulation method to gain needed global knowledge, adding that this approach will help undergraduates in the ever competitive world of employment.
They observe that it is quite evident that in today’s fiercely competitive market, only those who can back their academic grades with some work experience usually discover the best breaks.
Richard Obire, founder of African institute of Business Simulations (AIBS) opines that there is the need to help students connect theory to practice which is lacking and has created a huge gap in Nigeria educational system.
Obire observe that approaching teaching and learning using a business simulation facility is one of the process required to enable students both under graduate and post graduates actually connect the theory that they learn in different areas to practice.
“We have to use innovative tools and creative thinking both for teaching and for learning and simulation gives you that opportunity and offer students and lecturers a new way of teaching that is practical and if you can’t connect theory and practice, then you don’t have empowerment skill after spending four to six years going through a university courses why do you do that after you come out you are not ready for industry”. He said.
He further noted that investing in simulation facilities projects across universities will impact on the national economy because with this, students are going to be industry ready meaning that employers are going to find out that they need to spend less to get new graduates off the ground running. Because they will be ready to add value from the first day they get into the job.
The method of teaching and learning in most Nigeria universities are such that cannot help the student compete on a global scale says Obi Ezeude, chief executive officer, Beloxxi industries limited.
He observes that business simulation is a new method of teaching and learning that is obtainable is business schools all over the world.
According to him, “I feel that investing in Business simulation laboratory in universities is a cutting edge project that is good and needful because the students can benefit when they use the lab to understand how business decisions are taken abroad”.
Ezeude further said that what this means to the economy and students that will use it is that each student that passes through such programme will have first class knowledge of what obtains outside Nigeria.
In his words, “It brings the students up to international standard such that if they go and tomorrow and they are employed, they would have had a firsthand knowledge of how business works, they would have seen the tools businesses use in making their decisions, they would have benefited of at least seeing real live how thing are done elsewhere in the world”.
“This project is the first step in trying to reintegrate Nigeria students into the real world. To give them an idea of what it is like to work after graduating from school. At the end of the day, Nigeria will benefit by having real human capital development out of the university as oppose to graduate that come out without any functional knowledge” he said.
If Nigeria must attain the Vision 2020 national economic projection, concerted efforts must be made to improve the human capacity competence of Nigerian graduates.