Sonny Echono, the executive secretary, of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has pledged support for measures that will improve employment of graduates in the county.
Echono made the pledge at an implementation support workshop for the national employability benchmarking programme in Nigerian universities in Abuja on Wednesday.
He stressed the importance of implementing the recommendations contained in a report submitted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to ultimately reduce the high rate of unemployment in the country.
“The report indicates that the aggregate average score of Nigerian benchmark institutions across the five dimensions of employability is 2.3 out of 4.0 which is just above the average of all institutions benchmarked globally (2.2).
“The report which also covers the assessment of the institutions’ Digital Learning Strategy shows that surveyed universities lagged behind global best practices in application of digital learning strategies, access to large multidisciplinary databases and digital course-reserves as well as the level of faculty digital skills.
“This obviously requires deliberate action on the part of all stakeholders to address our peculiar challenges,” he added.
Echono said that Nigeria being a developing economy is faced with the challenges of high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment which is at an all-time high in the country.
He added that an increasing number of young Nigerian graduates from tertiary education institutions are being released into the labour market with a continuously shrinking absorptive capacity.
“The structure of the economy which is largely import dependent has further limited the ability of the country to generate commensurable jobs due to low level of industrialisation, thereby aggravating the unemployment situation in Nigeria.
“Thus, aligning our intervention activities to meet our changing needs, and strengthening our education delivery towards fostering an entrepreneurship culture are some of the best ways for unleashing the enormous youth potential,” he said.
He added that the fund is also working to address unemployment as well as other societal problems, thereby growing the economy.
He said that strengthening entrepreneurship education and training is crucial to achieving this.
“As an intervention agency for tertiary education in Nigeria, TETFund is deliberately refocusing its intervention activities to support learning outcomes and employability of Nigerian tertiary education graduates.
“I am pleased to report that the Strategic and Operational Plan for refocusing TETFund entrepreneurship intervention for employability and innovation was approved by the Federal Ministry of Education in March 2023.
“Consequently, the requirements and guidelines for accessing entrepreneurship development intervention of the Fund were revised in line with the approved Plan.
“In addition, the Fund is in the process of establishing entrepreneurship and innovation hubs in our beneficiary institutions across the six geo-political zones of the country, to link them with industry.
“This is with a view to enhance entrepreneurship development, innovation and employability in line with contemporary global best practices,” he said.
He, therefore, said that the interventions would help promote the transformation of beneficiary institutions into catalysts for knowledge creation and organising the translation of knowledge into usable products and services for addressing societal problems.