By Abdulyassar Abdulhamid
Quality university education is imperative in matching demand with supply in the prolong Nigeriaâ€™sÂ unemployment crisis,Â Professor Ali Muhammad Garba of the Department of Business Administration, Bayero University, Kano, said.
Speaking at a knowledge Production Dialogue titled â€œCritical Skills gap in Undergraduate Training in Nigerian Universitiesâ€Â the Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD, organized, in collaboration with Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, on Tuesday, the don attributed the problem to the lack of a link between education and development initiatives in Nigeria.
According to him, the education standards has fallen from basic and secondary levels due to corruption, poor public investment and overall weak policy commitment in the sector.
In paper titled â€œThe Quality of University Education: Imperative of Maching Demand with Supplyâ€, the professor presented at the event, he argued that in the banking sector, for example, graduates from foreign universities are given preference in employment than thoseÂ from Nigerian universities simply because education in Nigeria has failed in itsÂ primary responsibility of producing the required workforce with needed knowledge and skills.
Professor Adamu maintained that unlike in many developed nations, in NigeriaÂ there is no explicit linkage between university education and development objectives, as emphasis is placed on rigor than relevance.
He said: â€œThese explanations may well be valid. However, in this paper, it is suggested the reason for the poor quality of university graduates is the general tendency to isolate university education from mainstream development initiatives.
â€œThere is no explicit linkage between university education and development objectives in Nigeria.Â University education is treated in its â€˜independent siloâ€™ as a separate endeavour rather than as a tool to advance development objective.
â€œThis, in my view, is contrary to good and progressive practice found in other nations, such as South Korea and Singapore that linked university education to specific development objectives.â€
A solution to the problem, according to him, is that universities in Nigeria should, in very practical terms, institute a formal mechanism for evaluating quality, adding that education quality cannot and should not be left to random events or wishes of the operators, asÂ it must be planned and executed in a systematic and formal way.
Presented also at the knowledge production dialogue was a paper titled â€œBridging the Soft Skills Gap in Young Peopleâ€ by the Chief Executive Officer, Jobberman Nigeria, Hilda Kragha.
In his remarks, the Communication Officer, CITAD Mr. Ali Sabo, reaffirmed the centreâ€™s commitment in its advocacy forÂ coherent policies and innovations that would help in equiping students with proper knowledge and skills needed in the labour market, with a view to reducing the rate of unemployment in Nigeria.