ITF decry disparity in school curriculum, industrial need as unemployment rate soar
....Harp on induction of skill acquisition programs in tertiary institutions
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has decried the broad disparity in the curriculum of tertiary institutions and the needs of industries, stating that most graduates lack the skills required to meet the need of industries across the country, leading to increased unemployment.
Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and employment had earlier lamented that the nation’s unemployment rate at 23.1 percent, and underemployment at 16.6 percent, as it is projected reach 33.5 per cent by 2020.
Joseph N. Ari, Director General, ITF said that the absence of clear policies on technical skills acquisition as a vehicle for job creation and poverty reduction as well as the lack of synergy and co-operation between Agencies with mandate for skills development for job creation has led to the increase in unemployment.
He said that the emphasis in Nigerian institutions has been on verbal activity rather than Skill acquisition and problem solving activities, stressing that the educational system has not been tailored to meet developmental needs of the nation.
“The disconnect between the school curriculum and the needs of the Industries has led to a situation where it is not uncommon to hear employers lament the un-employability of graduates of our tertiary institutions. This formed the subject of a presentation by the Human Capital Group at the Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020 International Conference on the state of the Nigerian educational system”.
The DG decried that while over 20 million Nigerians are not employed, more technicians are being imported into the country adding that Nigerians have not fully embraced skills acquisition as a sustainable alternative to white collar jobs.
“Another important obstacle is our perception of skills acquisition. Many Nigerians still believe that hands-on skills are a preserve of the poor and the disadvantaged in our society as they are viewed as dirty, dreaded and dangerous. This perception has led to skills shortages in trades and vocational areas that Nigerians should be well equipped to perform”.
“Closely related to this is the absence of a reliable Labour Market Information (LMI) that would guide Nigerians in career choices and institutions of learning on industry needs. Consequently, institutions of learning and human capacity development institutions work in the dark and without any form of guidance. The effect of this is that institutions train potential workers in skills that are not needed by the labour market”.
Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Minister of state, Industry, Trade and investment in her remark said that the importance of the summit cannot be over emphasized as skill acquisition has become a useful currency of countries desirous of development.
She said that there is need to tackle the rise in unemployment as it is a major factor leading to insecurity and criminal acts across the country.
She said “If we must address insecurity in the country, we must first create jobs and make skill acquisition our focal point”.
“Industries must collaborate with schools to align curriculum with the needs of the industries. “Across the nation today, no day passes without reports of kidnappings, armed robbery, mass killings and other heinous crimes. In the event of arrest, most of these perpetrators claim some form of tertiary education and blame unemployment for their dastardly acts”.
Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, representing the Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, said that the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has rolled out numerous policies and other initiatives directly targeted at tackling unemployment and its attendant fall outs.
“From what the Federal Government has done and is doing, it is obvious that the unemployment situation that has persisted is not as a result of the lack of will and commitment of the Federal Government to fund Iasting solutions to the problem”.
“The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Skills Gap Survey in Six Priority Sectors of the Nigerian Economy has shown that despite the rising unemployment, vacancies still existed in several sectors of the economy that are still reliant on foreign labour to be filled.
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja