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Are universities in Nigeria preparing students with substantial skills for getting hired by employers? The answer can be quite negative, yet that is only the stark reality. As former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Bamiro points out, “Universities need to equip their students with the necessary competencies. Universities while trying to give quality education to the students and making sure that they have employability attributes, must be aware of the external factor and labour market regulations, democracy and structure of the economy and considering the overall economy situation of the country. Good academic qualifications are no longer enough for employability. Graduates need to also have other attributes which they call soft skills. Graduates can no longer expect to be employed in just one sector through their professional life. They will need to be impacted with skills that will make them to adapt to different situation. Some graduates do not know how to write application letters even some use internet English and short hand is not good.”

How to Deal with It?

This is indeed a problem that many developing nations like Nigeria face. Conventional university education is grossly focused on bringing excellence in academic knowledge. Employment-centric curriculum is something that is prominently absent in Nigerian education.

Now, how would Nigerian youth deal with this? A very simple question having a complex answer, Nigeria must have to make extensive use of open educational resources that allow learners getting real-life working experience parallel to their academic knowledge.

Skill-Developing Learning

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One of the most prominent benefits with globalisation is number of international universities and affiliated course providers flocking around many underdeveloped nations like Nigeria to offer online courses. Nigerian youth must take the advantages of such way of learning where flexibility of online courses allow them to enjoy anytime-anywhere studying with simple gadgets like tablets or laptops, with an internet connection. The real advantage with this flexibility of online learning what students can easily turn in favour of them is the opportunity for real-industry involvement parallel to their theoretical knowledge accumulation.

Involvement in Industry whilst Studying

So, with online university courses Nigerian youth can augment their academic proficiencies alongside their involvements in relevant industries to get practical skill-based efficiencies. Thus, they can achieve a combination of knowledge that helps them develop both theoretical concepts on any subject and applied aspects of those theories.

This is what can only save Nigerian youth from the engulfing doom of unemployment. Employers today prefer those candidates who have prior industrial exposure, and this can only be achieved through the flexible, easy-affordable online learning model. To deal with unemployment problem among Nigerian youth Government there should also encourage people for taking benefits of online education and make their job prospect really lucrative.

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African continent is somewhat lacking its necessary developments in education. In Uganda, the Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, recently commented upon some of the issues to educational advancement. But his views are quite insufficient to tackle the issues regarding unequal education and less competent graduates.

As per his announcement, the Government is planning to set up seed schools, and distribute computers in rural secondary schools. But, the shortcoming of his plan lies in the absence of sufficient initiatives to link such distribution programme to the skill developments among those students.

Superficial Measures Needs Attentive Reconsideration

The problem factor cannot be overcome by such distribution of computers, or minor increase in teacher’s salaries. Rather, actual understanding of root issues that plays behind the substandard education in Uganda need to address. Prime Minister should realise the demands of current economy, and plan all round reformation in the country’s education system which is grossly disconnected towards what the time’s expectations are.

There are systematic as well as multi-dimensional problems which need immediate attention. For example, the working conditions for teachers, including their pay scales need to be improved. Investments have to be made with a good amount from the government. The countries that have made remarkable developments in education like the UK, the US etc should be intensively followed in this respect.

Selection of Teaching Faculty Requires Modification

Standard of education depends at large on teaching faculty. But, mainly two types of candidates pursue this career – those who are really passionate about this profession, or those who do not have any other option than this.  To meet the expected developments, modification in teacher selection process would be the most vital step. And, also it should be made sure that they can work in a better and more amicable condition, which includes much higher salaries that currently they get.

Curriculums should Fuel Creativity

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Then, a substantial reformation needs to be done in learning environments. Curriculum must have to be designed in accordance with 21st century needs. Instead of a flat curriculum for any course, improvements have to be implemented in critical thinking skills, problem solving and analysis, communication skills, and, last but not the least, self-initiative.  Improvement on these areas can bring about successful innovation, creativity and workforce productivity.

Curriculum must ignite learners’ imagination, their thirst for creativity and analysing the world with a broader perspective. To this end, classroom size must be small so that teachers can instructors can invest more personal attention to their students.

Career Prospects Need Focus

Above all, curriculum should be designed in such a way that might help students develop real-life skills, with which they can enhance their career possibilities. So, parallel to theoretical lesson they need to be introduced to various project-based learning, which will give them fair idea about different industries and skills they need to acquire to shine in any respective career.

In many developed countries, ways of teaching and learning have been freed from the physical boundaries of classrooms. With the employment of online technologies, education there has given enough flexibility and mobility to engage their huge potentiality into industrial involvements alongside their studies.

If Uganda really wants to see a better tomorrow through its educational developments, the government must have to take such substantial steps that can actually meet the standard of the world and expectations of the time. Honest effort to this end can surely make the country achieve this goal.

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