The federal government is considering a major policy change to its tertiary education that would see graduates go for an extra year of studies.
The Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwukah, disclosed this yesterday
at a two-day retreat for governing councils of federal universities in Abuja.
The retreat, held under the theme: ‘Elements of Statutory Governance,
Procurement and Financial Accounting in Nigerian Universities,’
is to address the challenges of the education sector.
Anwukah said this was being considered because many university graduates
were not good enough to be employed by industries.
He said the proposal was similar to the extra year currently being
undertaken by law and medical students.
“Law students attend Law School for one year before going for NYSC and
medical students go for one year Housemanship before they are allowed to
practice fully, so it will be necessary for other courses to also go
through this process,” Anwukah said.
“The Lagos Business School can also serve as a one-year
after-school training,” he added.
Anwukah said the university system has let Nigeria down in
the country’s quest for industrial development.
He said the universities have failed to produce graduates that meet
the needs of the industries.
“The universities are producing products that are not matching the needs of the
industries. I urged the Committee of Pro-chancellors and Committee of
Vice-Chancellor to end the decline in the
standard of education,” he said.
He lamented that the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme
(SIWES) system has failed in the universities.
Anwukah said the Nigerian university system has failed in producing
quality graduates who should be employed in Industries,
following its inability to meet their demands.
He challenged participants at the retreat to bridge the gap between
Nigerian universities and the industry.
According to Anwukah, ”At what point are we breaking the jinx of our
graduates not been able to meet the needs of our industries ”
He charged like minds to accept the challenge and begin to fashion out solution .
“It is a big challenge and it remains a problem in the Nigerian university System,
at what point do we find synergy, this is one of the problems the
retreat needs to address” the minister said.
Speaking on the importance of creating new knowledge in the Nigerian
university system, the Chairman Governing Board of the
National Universities Commission, Professor Emeritus,
Ayo Banjo said for Nigerian universities to achieve high ranking
in world university ranking system,
the universities must be adequately funded.
Banjo added that government subventions must be visible in the universities.
He emphasised that reasonable staff to student ratio
determines quality of education.
He called for curriculum reforms in the universities to produce
excellence graduates which would place Nigerian universities
on the world map.
Former NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Munzali Jibril,
was optimistic that the issues raised in the retreat would help address
the problems faced in the universities.
Also, Prof. Ibrahim Jordi, representing the CVC said with knowledge
gained from the retreat, the level of education in the
Nigerian universities would be improved upon.