…Cites Misalignment between graduates and limited jobs market
The executive vice chairman (EVC), National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammed Haruna has called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to overhaul the current curriculum used in teaching entrepreneurship courses in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the permanent site for the NASENI Skill Development Centre and North Central Science and Integrated Laboratory in Keffi, Nasarawa State yesterday (August 1, 2022), Haruna lamented that most tertiary institutions in Nigeria have no qualified lecturers and enabling environment to teach entrepreneurship.
He emphasised that entrepreneurship is a practical course that should be taught only by practising entrepreneurs. The EVC pointed out that experts in management sciences and marketing with no training in entrepreneurship are not qualified to teach entrepreneurship courses.
He posited that this development has resulted in a clear misalignment between graduates of the nation’s tertiary institutions and the limited job market, adding that a lot of young people have no formal education and constitute a threat to the future of the nation.
Haruna added that NASENI skill development centres across the nation will collaborate with willing tertiary institutions in their catchment areas to bridge this gap.
He stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of skill development centres and institutions of NASENI across the nation to address youth unemployment and create chains of businesses and catalyse industrial development for economic prosperity.
“This skills development centre will train and develop middle-level manpower to focus on employability in selected occupational areas, provide and improve training standards and ensure that the right technical and vocational skills needed by local industries are available. It will also focus on empowering the youths with multiple technical and entrepreneurial skills for job mobility and wealth creation, and certify the skills and competencies of the trainees for acceptance in the labour market,” he said.
He further said that the centre will serve as a knowledge transfer unit for the development of traditional design technology and standardisation aimed at quality control, to enhance the marketability of products developed by adopting indigenous and home-based technologies and methods. The NASENI boss added this will in turn facilitate job creation and economic empowerment for Nigeria’s teeming populace, especially the youth.
“The establishment of skill development centres across the country will also help the nation leap-frog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We cannot afford to be left behind. A low technology base is the bane of underdevelopment,” he added.
In his address, the governor of Nasarawa State, Engr, Abdullahi Sule applauded the commitment of the Federal Government to the establishment of the Skill Development Centre and North Central Engineering, as well as Science Integrated Laboratory in Nasarawa State. He commended the endeavour and hailed it as one which would enhance skills acquisition and improve the capacities of the nation’s industrial workforce.
“I believe it will complement our efforts towards youth empowerment, wealth generation and job creation. Let me re-echo that in our commitment to building the capacities of our teeming youth, we have established the Wing Commander Abdullahi Ibrahim Vocational and Skills Acquisition Centre to acquaint our youth with the needed skills for self-reliance and actualisation,” he said.
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to continue to support and synergise with the NASENI in all its interventions, particularly in the areas of energy, mechatronics, nanotechnology, engineering, agriculture, manufacturing, mining sector, among others.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the president of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Tasiu Gidari-Wudil reechoed the call for the overhaul of the course curriculum in the entrepreneurship-related courses in tertiary institutions.
“Most lecturers are degree holders without the requisite experience but we need people who grew up in the system to be able to go back and give back what is there; so that rejigging and employment in the polytechnics and technical schools have to be looked into,” he added.
Gidari-Wudil commended NASENI for the laudable initiative and the giant strides taken in Nigeria’s engineering and infrastructure sector, restating the society’s commitment to partner the agency in its developmental programmes.