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Buhari to varsities: Focus curriculum on devt. of entrepreneurial skills of students

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*Says govt alone can’t provide jobs for teeming citizens

*Frowns at instability in education calendars overstrikes, others

Buhari to varsities: Focus curriculum on devt. of entrepreneurial skills of students
President Muhammadu Buhari

By Joseph Erunke

PRESIDENT Muhammad Buhari has tasked universities and other educational institutions in the country to begin to focus their curricula on the development of entrepreneurial skills of their students.

Buhari, noting that his administration had in the past three years engaged over 500,000 graduates and youths in special interventionist programmes by his government, said government alone cannot create jobs for the teeming population of the country.

To this end, he, therefore, called “on the graduands and indeed all our youth to embrace whole-heartedly the measures introduced to curb the incidence of unemployment in the country”, reassuring that “the Federal Government would continue to explore all avenues of addressing youth unemployment.”

According to him, the need for schools to refocus curricular on entrepreneurship was to “generate in our citizens the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship which will ultimately galvanize the drive towards self-employment.”

The president, who spoke Saturday, at the 24th convocation of the University of Abuja, where a total of 10,331 students graduated in different fields and levels of study, said the objective of his government in its “renewed drive to reinvigorate the education sector is to generate in our citizens the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship which will ultimately galvanize the drive towards self-employment.”

“In effect, our educational curriculum must focus on the development of entrepreneurial skills of the individuals which will ultimately impact greatly on efforts to generate employment and reduce the high rate of poverty which has been the main cause of the incidence of social deviance in the country,” he said in a speech delivered at the occasion by his representative and Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed.

Emphasising on the level of unemployment in the country, President Buhari said,”Government had, in last four years, adopted short-term and long term approaches to tackling the problem.”

“These included the N-power Volunteer Programme, a stopgap measure aimed at tackling unemployment, under which a total of 500,000 unemployed graduates were engaged over a three-year period as a short-term approach while government will endeavor to provide more lasting economic measures in its fiscal policies that seek to reflate the economy and open up employment opportunities over the years,” he added.

You would recall that agencies supervising that youth employment and loan schemes were reorganized recently to reposition them for more effective service delivery.

While noting that “Convocations have become a regular feature and cherished tradition of this university despite the occasional disruption of the academic calendars in recent times”, Buhari said:”I must emphasize that universities must maintain a certain level of stability, with uninterrupted academic activities, if the overall objectives of attaining national development goals with the institutions as pivots are to be achieved.”

“The task of overcoming the problems of the education sector is not a function and responsibility of government alone,” he said, adding:” It should emerge through a concerted effort of government, parents, stakeholders and the entire society.”

According to the president, “No nation has achieved appreciable socio-economic development without tangible transformation of its education system.”

READ ALSO: Buhari to El-Rufai: Your entry into public service was accidental…

“In view of this national perception, education will continue to be a high priority item in my government’s drive to transform the economy,” he said, stressing that, “Government will continue to provide Nigerians equal and massive access to education at all levels such that they can fulfil their dream of participating in the nation’s socio-economic development and empowerment of our youths.”

He spoke further: ” I believe, fervently, that advancement in education at all levels, will guarantee our collective drive to grow the economy for the betterment of all Nigerians.

“Government will continue in its determination to improve the deteriorating infrastructural facilities in the universities, teacher development, and curriculum review in tandem with the needs of our larger society.

“This is expected, in the long run, to address deficiencies in all the segments of our educational system.

“Our objective in the renewed drive to reinvigorate the education sector is to generate in our citizens the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship which will ultimately galvanize the drive towards self-employment.

“I must reiterate the fact that for the education system to serve us with utmost efficiency and competence, it must be dynamic and amenable to the nation’s developmental needs.

“In effect, our educational curriculum must focus on the development of entrepreneurial skills of the individuals which will ultimately impact greatly on efforts to generate employment and reduce the high rate of poverty which has been the main cause of the incidence of social deviance in the country.

“The Minister of Education has since directed the National Universities Commission (NUC) to initiate the process of reviewing the curriculum of universities which would, among other relevant activities, include provision for the minimum level of qualification for university teachers.

“Other relevant educational agencies have similarly been directed to set in motion the process of setting national minimum professional qualification for teachers at the basic level of learning.

“These measures, in the long run, would, no doubt, improve the quality of our school systems and their products.

“Government will, however, continue to look into all pertinent issues raised by the universities regarding physical development as well as the quality and relevance of their graduates and will continue to monitor the institutions very closely. This is with a view to ensuring that the little funds that are available to service the universities are utilized judiciously.

READ ALSO: FG’ll explore technology to make education attractive – Osinbajo

“Let me reassure you all that the Federal Government would continue to explore all avenues of addressing youth unemployment.

“Government had, in last four years, adopted short-term and long term approaches to tackling the problem.

“These included the N-power Volunteer Programme, a stopgap measure aimed at tackling unemployment, under which a total of 500,000 unemployed graduates were engaged over a three-year period as a short-term approach while government will endeavor to provide more lasting economic measures in its fiscal policies that seek to reflate the economy and open up employment opportunities over the years.

“You would recall that agencies supervising that youth employment and loan schemes were reorganized recently to reposition them for more effective service delivery.

“Let me assure you all that government would redouble its efforts towards ensuring a conducive atmosphere for youth to realize their potentials.

“I, therefore, call on the graduands and indeed all our youth to embrace whole-heartedly the measures introduced to curb the incidence of unemployment in the country.”

Earlier, in his speech, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof. Rasheed Na’Allah, said the university produced a total of 26 first-class graduates among the 10,331 graduates that were enlisted for the convocation.

He also said 866 others made Second Class Upper in the grades awarded the graduates just as he said 2,317 others made Second Class Lower grade, with 339 making Third Class as well 52 others graduating with Pass results respectively.

Prof. Na’Allah disclosed that the University Senate has also approved 4-year Academic Calendar ahead as part of efforts to ensure stable and regular academic calendar such that students would be able to clear from when they come in the day to graduate.

Na’Allah, however, appealed to the members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and other staff Unions to corporate with the University management to achieve this goal, saying grievances could be appropriately handled instead of the closedown of the school.

He said the university has strategised to strengthen the students to become solution providers for the nation, saying one of the major problems of Nigeria was unemployment and that there was the need to graduate students that are globally competitive.

Vanguard Nigeria News

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