• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Experts hinge development of education on curricula review

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It is a known fact that University education in Nigeria has a specific mission of producing a critical mass of Nigerians, grounded on the key generic skills, especially on the basis of the high-quality higher education they offer which would provide the needed catalyst for the nation’s socio-political and economic development.

While it may appear that so much has been said about the state of the nation’s universities and the quality of graduates churned out yearly, one thing that however cannot be over-emphasised is the issue of the curricula employed by these institutions of higher learning.

It is an established fact that the curricula used by most universities are centred on producing graduates with little entrepreneurial training. This is why most of them depend so much on working for others and lack the aptitude for job creation.

Studies and opinions of experts show that Nigerian universities at present are not producing the expected high-quality graduates. In effect, it means that the curriculum is poorly implemented.

Statistics show that every year, tertiary institutions in Nigeria graduate over 200,000 students from diverse disciplines who join the already saturated unemployment market

It is therefore with this obvious shortcoming from one of the most relevant levels of education in the country that education watchers have called for an urgent review of the curricula of universities so they can achieve both national and international goals geared towards making the products of Nigerian universities nationally relevant and internationally competitive.

They argue that while education may facilitate the acquisition of skills and mastery of techniques, it is something larger, deeper if an entrepreneurship curriculum is included; as there are other specific activities that can be carried out with a view to creating an entrepreneurship culture in Nigerian universities.

Other experts observed that generally, for a graduate to have a fulfilled life, the type of entrepreneurship activity he engages in has an important role to play, noting that there is the need to employ career guidance in guiding students into various entrepreneurial activities, especially in a situation that demands for matching students with the demands of their prospective employment market.

To this end, they strongly maintained that the nation’s universities need to be accountable to the students, parents, government and the general public.

Adedayo Kolawole, an education consultant maintains that a reviewed university curriculum that includes entrepreneurship education as a compulsory course is a measure to address the problem of graduate unemployment and strategically position the economy for leadership.

In his words, “Nigerian university system in re-positioning the economic development and entrepreneurial drive for job creation, wealth creation and global competitiveness of Nigerian graduates needs to address its curricula in balance”

He opines that one of such approaches for achieving this in Nigeria is teaching and research at entrepreneurship and innovation centres by universities and other tertiary institutions and the promotion of universities-private sector collaboration.

This he added will involve developing the capacity of staff and students in entrepreneurship and innovation, engaging in outreach activities with small and medium enterprises through such interventions as business incubators.

“Training of entrepreneurs and conducting researches and consultancies by small business development centres in universities are considered inevitable for patenting entrepreneurial, industrial and economic growth in Nigeria” he noted.

Anyanwu Ezendu, an educationist on his part pointed out that employers are wary of the products that universities turn out in Nigeria.

He added that the public service is right sizing and the government is promoting private sector initiatives. In the face of current realities, universities are being called upon not only to tailor curricula to local labour market needs but also to build entrepreneurs who can be on their own.

“The universities in Nigeria should start by tailoring the curriculum to meet the demands of the industry and that of a self-reliant graduate”, he maintained.

Adamu Mohammed, an education consultant believes that to overcome the problem of unemployment and persistent mismatches between graduates’ qualifications and the need of the labour market, university curricula should be structured to enhance the employability of graduates.

He urged Nigerian universities to place more emphasis on training and entrepreneurship development, to make graduates well equipped for self-employment, innovation and creativeness.