By Favour Nnabugwu & Grace Udofia
Graduate unemployment in Nigeria is attributable to the fact that employees’ education and skills acquired are inadequate to meet the demands of modern day jobs.
This issue has become a national concern as unemployed youths grows.
Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in an interview in Abuja, pondered why it is difficult for present day graduates to get jobs contrary to the 80s where graduates picked jobs with entrepreneurial studies in the universities back then,Awuzie admitted that all stakeholders in the educational system have failed in their responsibilities to the young generations.
“We have abandoned our responsibility. If you go to any of the federal establishments, go and look at those building erected as secretariats, ministry of finance, ministry of education, how many people are occupying those rooms?’’,he said.
“I do not think our problem is entrepreneurial studies not being there or that the people training them are not good enough because those that we trained are not good enough because those were the people we taught. So, we should be getting better with age and not worse.
“I appreciate the fact that there is technology and green revolution but those ones are not responsible for increasing labour market but that the fact is that we failed or do not want to create the enabling environment. We do not want to create the jobs for the Nigeria people who come out from schools to get jobs.
“We cannot continue to blame the graduates, saying they are not employable yet those people who are arguing that those graduates are not employable are the same people we trained.”
‘’Universities or polytechnics don’t make one an entrepreneur. A graduate must have to work somewhere to get experience before he then established your own. The country’s most referred personalities like the late Onosode, Pascal Dozien, etc got their wealth of experience from companies that employed them before they established their own.
“Why can’t we give our graduates the opportunity to work, get the required experience before they find their feet. Will they just come out of school and become an entrepreneurs? We cannot continue to shift our responsibilities to our young people.”
Prof Shehu Abdulrahman, Vice-Chancellor Federal University, Gashua, Yobe State, believed that if the students are properly counseled on the line of disciplines before they entered the universities, we won’t get to this level.
Defining employability, Shehu said it means that a graduate should be able to apply his knowledge in getting himself something to do irrespective of the availability of government job or not.
“And that is why most are universities trying to address the issue of entrepreneurship because we want to make our graduates employable. Once graduates are employable the problem of unemployment will disappear.”and employ
Also, Dr. Gylych Jelilov, of Nigerian Turkish Nile University,described entrepreneurial education as an important tool for Nigeria to advance fight against unemployment especially among the youth.
Jelilov Head of Economics Department of the university, acknowledged that most Nigerian universities have initiated enterpreneural programmes, little research is available to assess its impact to confirm if a relationship exists between students taking the programmes and their intention of becoming entrepreneurs.”
The HoD harps on the need for the development and complete overhaul of the education system in Nigeria.
It is fundamental to improve and enhance the people’s ability and capacity to be absorbed in the competitive and bloated labour market.
Jelilov advised on the need for universities to focus on the teaching of entrepreneurship as skills acquisition rather than its education.
“For instance students often are taught how to manage business ventures while entrepreneurial centres are concerned with the dynamics and knowledge of the enterprise,”he said.
It not necessary for a student to know how to repair shoe but how to set up and manage a shoe making factory, the rest is left for those with technical skills.
“There is greater need to emphasise on how an individual could establish and efficiently manage a business rather than know how to make those goods he/she sells.”
The Federal Government had established the YOU-WIN program designed to create job opportunities while participants are required to develop and execute their own business ideas that will provide jobs for themselves and other youths who may or not be graduates.
The program was to have provided 40,000 to 50,000 new jobs, encouraged expansion, specialization and job spinoffs of existing businesses, and enabled young entrepreneurs to have a broad professional and business network by the end of this year.