A Nigerian Graduate – No More A Big Deal
A Nigerian Graduate – No More A Big Deal : Igwenazor Chinaemerem
Being a Nigerian and a graduate of any higher institution in Nigeria is no more a symbol status. In every nook and cranny, there are uncountable number of people brandishing tertiary education certifications even in multiples. As the number of graduates maintain its northwards trajectory, there is a corresponding acute unemployment facing these certificate holders irrespective of the course of study, grade at graduation and institution attended.
This current situation was never the same about four decades ago especially for white collar job seekers. Those days, the good old days as many will refer to it acquiring a certificate from a tertiary institution was a meal ticket. As history has it, graduates make a choice among the job opportunities waiting for them. Those days employers of labour deploy their Human Resources Department executives to fish out the best brains from their faculties months before graduation. Today unfortunately even when you have first class from the enviable citadels of learning, your chances of clinching a job hangs naturally on an oscillating balance.
It is no more fanciful to totally identify oneself with a degree in Nigeria. When you meet people, they are more interested in your area of focus and your ability to meet your daily personal and family demands via your visions as aspirations. But naturally, of what use is a certificate when it can offer you access to a better live?
The first entity to receive an accusing finger for this ugly situation is the government. The sad story is that the bulk of the top politicians, academics and leaders in present day Nigeria had a smooth transition from classrooms to well paid jobs. How they have failed woefully to entrench the same seamless transition program to the present generation is a million dollar question. Our government lacks the prowess to articulate job creation policies and successfully implement them. By extension, even the private sector that would have complimented the efforts of the government was stifled of performance.
It is not an understatement to state that the Nigerian tertiary institutions does not have any link or understanding with the labour employers so as to train and groom the kind of hands needed for progressive and positive workforce. Thus the content of our schools curricula is off the mark with the demands of 21st century workforce. It is not magical that graduates are churned out in their thousands yearly without a job. A crucial aspect of tertiary education – Industrial Attachment [IT] is not a bona fide part and parcel of our educational system. Thus the mass produced graduates knows a little of the theoretical aspect of their learning and nothing to show for the much needed practical demands peculiar with the obtained certification. For example, it is common to meet a mechanical engineering graduate of Nigerian tertiary institution that cannot fix a car but rely on a roadside mechanic to do so. However, only a negligible few courses that are highly regulated can pass such a litmus test, example – Pharmacy, Law, Nursing, Medicine et al.
The question that keeps popping up among the young and aging is …. Does going to school worth all the hype when it does not add the expected value? It seems that those who opted for apprenticeship in some trades are having it better when compared. It is common that female graduates avoid their graduate counterparts in marriage for those who are doing well in trade or crafts. The men are dumping their highly treasured certificates to join some of their spouses in the business they have nurtured over the years.
It is high time the content of Nigerian tertiary education is tweaked to suit the current realities. With that the teaming graduates can be easily assimilated while a good number can confront the job creation monster with success. With the surge in population backed by rural to city migration, it is a matter of time and the unemployment crisis will take a spring with its negative consequences.