By Peter Egwuatu
Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Victor Odozi has identified early acquisition of business and other problem-solving skills early in life as the most effective solution to the prevalent unemployment and low productivity in the Nigerian economy.
Delivering the keynote paper at the first Nigerian Innovative Brains Awards held at the Afe Babalola Hall, University of Lagos at the weekend, Odozi said only a workforce equipped and prepared for the challenges of productive life can transform the national economy and create jobs rather than wait endlessly to be employed.
Describing the current education curriculum in Nigeria as antiquated and incapable of preparing Nigerians to compete in a complex and rapidly changing global business landscape, the former CBN chief stressed that attention should be shifted to producing graduates with hands-on knowledge of how to solve complex business problems, insisting that failure to do this will sustain the present regression in the economy of the country.
â€œNigerian youths are living in the past. It is very unhealthy for us to continue to teach business skills of the 19th century in the 21st century. We must move away from the past and find new ways of adapting to present realities of the business environment otherwise we will continue to produce a workforce that is conditioned to replicate old things rather than create new products and services,â€ Mr Odozi said.
He identified entrepreneurship as the single factor that could bring about economic change in any economy and wondered why it has not occurred to policy makers in Nigeria that our education system is no longer capable of producing generations equipped with practical skills that could foster change and economic productivity.
The only way forward, he said, was for government to diligently implement the Vision 2020 education sector policy initiatives and strategies as a first step while seriously contemplating a radical break with the past, consistent with the need for transformational, rather than reformative, change in the business environment, sustain the increased accent on science and technology in the curricula of tertiary education to promote problem-solving skills and self-development.
He also advocated for regular reviews of education curricula to ensure that the content of teaching and learning reflects the rapidly advancing frontiers of scientific knowledge while incorporating emerging global knowledge trends, such as: interactive virtual reality learning systems, including e-learning; education for sustainable development training; emotional intelligence competence; and values and citizenship education.