Youths in the country have been charged to embrace entrepreneurship and skills acquisition in order to tackle unemployment challenges instead of depending on what certificates alone can offer.
The charge was made by seasoned academics, researchers and top entrepreneurs in their various presentations at the “2019 Leverage Summit” with the theme: ” “Policies, Power and Entrepreneurship: A Tripod for Sustainable Development”, held at the auditorium of the Federal University, Lokoja (FUL) recently.
In her presentation on “Skills acquisition: the missing curriculum in the Nigerian academia, an employability problem for graduates”, a public health parasitologist and head of Biological Sciences department at FUL, Dr Jacqueline Badaki, bemoaned the emphasis placed on certificates in Nigeria as against the acquisition of practical knowledge and skills required in the labour market.
She said, for Nigerian graduates to be employable, there must be a paradigm shift towards skill-oriented curriculum based on innovation and perceived needs while academic institutions should collaborate with local industries and multinationals for exchange of ideas and information.
“Government must ensure that academic institutions are supplied with the necessary infrastructure for knowledge and skill transfer. This can be made possible by ensuring the existence of a support system for students to encourage active study and entrepreneurial ventures.
“Institutions of higher learning should consider the development of entrepreneur internship programme by matching students with locally successful entrepreneurs with clearly established education programmes. This is already happening in private universities”, she said.
A lecturer and researcher based in the United Kingdom, Dr Chukwudi Okebaram, in his presentation, called for an overhaul of the Nigeria’s education policy to enhance productivity of the youth, adding that true education goes beyond merely acquiring degrees without relevant workplace skills.
He said government must also prioritise funding of the education sector for optimum results.
The keynote speaker of the event, Professor Mohammed Audu, of the department of History and International Relations at FUL, identified lack of accountability, corruption, weak administrative mechanism, weak surveillance and heavy bureaucracy as some of the factors militating against sustainable development in the country.
Other speakers at the event include Funke Paul Esseyin who spoke on “The Nigeria’s Tomorrow by the Nigerians Today”; Reverend Ogbuju Emeka, who spoke on “Data Governance and Entrepreneurship” and Dr (Mrs) Philomena Baiyere, who spoke on “Purposeful Parenthood”.
Professional administrator and convener of the summit, Daniel Ikechukwu Nwankwo, in his welcome remarks said the summit was put together to build solid foundations for prosperous and productive future for Nigerian youths.
He urged Nigerian youths to drop “blame-game” and strive to accomplish their God-given dreams despite the challenges that might confront them.
“The youths could choose, like one Nigerian female lawyer, who against the maltreatments of her step mother, insisted that she must be great and she grew from torture, pain and hunger to a great lawyer”, he said.
Highlights of the summit were the presentation of partial and full scholarships to some undergraduate students of FUL by the convener of the programme.
pic caption: Convener of the summit, Daniel Nwankwo (1st left) and a cross section of guest speakers at the event in Lokoja recently.