President and Chief Executive Officer, Postgraduate School of Credit and Financial Management, Prof Chris Onalo has expressed concern over the quality of Nigerian graduates, saying about 95 percent of them are not employable.He lamented that our present crops of graduates do not meet the need of the reality in the workplace and called for an urgent attention from all concerned to address the trend.
Onalo who is also the founding Registrar, Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), the umbrella body for credit management professionals in the country spoke with The Guardian in his office on the various challenges confronting the sector and how best to tackle them.
While expressing concern over the quality of products being churned out from our tertiary institutions, the eminent scholar posited that the curriculum must be finetuned in line with market demands and current trends for our graduates to be globally acceptable and relevant.
He said, “Ninety five percent of Nigerian graduates cannot get jobs, those you see working are those supported by connections, not with what they come out of the university with. One thing with the labour market is that it keeps changing and you must have a brain that is well structured, one that recognises the need for change and quickly move ahead to create the change for things to function properly. Our universities are to blame but they in turn lament how poorly funded they are, saying the long years of neglect of the sector was responsible for the quality of graduates being churned out, not minding that we are not meeting the need of the labour market. “
“The curriculums are obsolete and not in tune with the reality and this is because money is not there to facilitate research. The lecturers don’t have support both from the government and the private sector. You don’t expect students to fund research projects.
If you have a curriculum that is obsolete, a curriculum that is 50 years away from the reality, then who are you baking? On one hand, it is the tertiary institutions that should develop the initiative and convey it to the labour market that we want collaboration and strategic partnership so that the labour market, captains in the industry, corporate managers and directors will have a very cordial relationship with the universities to bring the reality to the system. We don’t have that.”
On the recent clampdown on some universities by the regulatory body, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Onalo pointed out that there is a very high appetite for university education; hence the need for NUC to find a way of accommodating such institutions.
“While I’m against fictitious institutions, the NUC must reduce stringencies that go with requirements for establishing such institutions, not using he global best practices but instead, be country and culture specific. I think the NUC should also lead collaboration between the institutions that it has discredited and existing ones. If there is a growing demand for university education, then you will create the atmosphere where there will be collaboration between the university and such institutions