‘Possession of skills by graduates attracts employers’

Professor Jerry Gana

Professor Jerry Gana

*Oyedepo calls for continuous investment in education

Skills acquisition by German graduates is as high as 76 per cent. It is 80 per cent in Japan and 92 per cent in South Korea. In India, it is 23 per cent while it is less than 10 per cent in Nigeria.

Pro-chancellor/ Chairman of Governing Council of University of Lagos, Prof. Jerry Gana, who made the startling revelation recently said this lacuna among other factors including inadequate facilities, poor staffing, weak quality control mechanisms and non-relevance of academic programmes to the need of the national economy were responsible for poor quality graduates being churned out in the country.

Gana, a former Minister of Information and Orientation, who was the guest lecturer at the 11th convocation ceremony of Covenant University (CU), Ota, Ogun State, while speaking on the theme, “Improving Graduate Employability and Global Competitiveness: A Review of Nigerian Higher Education Delivery,” said for Nigerian graduates to be attractive to employers, emphasis should be on skills development.

Gana said, “We must place great emphasis on skills development. The driving force of the development process in the world today is ‘know-how,’ not mere education with certificates. Know-how is a product of skills acquisition. While talent may be a gift, skills must be sought after and acquired. Those with skills are most likely to be people of ideas and creativity, especially in their areas of expertise.

“Therefore, the way to go to make Nigerian graduates more employable is to soak them with high quality learning which emphasises skills not mere certificates.”

Additionally, academic programmes must be related to the needs of the society; entrepreneurship training programmes must be integrated into university degree programmes; and core values of honesty, integrity, discipline, and trustworthiness among others must be inculcated in all students.

Chancellor of the university, Dr. David Oyedepo, in his presentation titled, “Towards the Rescue of a Nation on the Brink of Intellectual Bankruptcy,” called for continuous investment in the country’s ivory towers.

Oyedepo who said that the country was on the brink of intellectual bankruptcy, hinted that only improved funding and huge investment in the sector, which would guarantee quality teaching and learning could rescue the country from imminent danger.

He said, “Continuous investment in education has helped Singapore to be where it is today. Thus, we need to recover our brainpower and self-esteem as black men. We have zero excuse for where we are today. We need to move from mere certification to enhanced productivity.”

Giving a breakdown of the graduating students, the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Ayo, said of the 1,495 awarded first and higher degrees, 157 had first class, 708 made second class upper division, 513 had second class lower division, while 118 had third class. Also 153 bagged postgraduate degrees in various disciplines.

However, with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.97, son of the Editor, Saturday PUNCH, Winner Deji-Folutile, emerged the overall best graduating student of the university. The 21 year-old graduate of architecture said, “God is the architect of my accomplishment, and I’m eternally grateful.”

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