March 20, 2024

University degree under siege, says UNILAG VC

University degree under siege, says UNILAG VC

As Foundation honours Ashiru, Macaulay, Oyinlola

By Adesina Wahab

LAGOS: The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, has said obtaining a university degree is no longer the golden ticket for meal by individuals, as the demand for soft skills has made many employers to overlook the possession of university degree while employing new hands.

Ogunsola also said Artificial Intelligence and other novel ideas coming up in the digital world are laying siege to university degree. 

She stated this in Lagos yesterday while delivering the 26th Annual Lecture of the Stephen Oluwole Awokoya Foundation for Science Education, SOAFSE.

She spoke on the topic, ” A look into the future: Providing fit for purpose education for national development. “

” University curricular is unable to respond rapidly to changes and new developments. Education skill gap keeps widening. About 31.9% of people with university degrees don’t have full employment, nearly 40% are unemployed. Now, university degree is under siege. It is no longer the golden ticket for meal.

Accenture, in 2016, employed 1,200 new workers, 80% did not have university degrees. IBM, in 2020 got new workers, only about 15% had university degrees. In fact, Dell no longer requires university degree for people to be employed by them. 

“Employers are now looking for people with cognitive ability. People who can think creatively, people who have analytical thinking ability, people who are curious and ready to learn. These soft skills are not what somebody would say go and read in a textbook. That takes us to what education is really. Education is to bring people to the realisation of what it is to be human.

” Therefore, intelligence plus character is the goal of education. Like Martin Luther King (Jnr) noted, morals are vital as a criminal may be the most intelligent,” she said.

Charting the way forward, Ogunsola opined that universities must be less bureaucratic and focus more on soft skills.

On what the future holds for formal education, the VC noted that e-learning would grow and that technical and vocational education would be highly rewarded. 

The chairman of the occasion, Dr Oladele Fajemirokun, lauded the late Prof. Stephen Oluwole Awokoya for his pioneering efforts at introducing universal free primary education in the old Western Region when he was the Minister of Education from 1952 to 1956.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Prof. A F. Ogunye, described Awokoya as a great lover of education, who founded Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo.

Speaking on the postgraduate scholarship awarded five students from different parts of the country, Dr Fola Awokoya said the late Awokoya was a detribalised Nigerian who contributed to the growth of education nationally and globally.

The scholarship winners were Saidu Saidu Abubakar, Awojinrin Gbenga Thompson, Osedimilehin Oluwatobiloba Johnson, Umo Faith Wisdom and Chukwuma Miracle Ebube.

Also, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, Rear Admiral Afolabi Macaulay and Mr Sola Oyinlola were honoured by the Foundation.