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Why aren’t the skills gap trainings in Nigeria creating the desired impact ?

Posted on: July 25th, 2016 by The Moderator 16 Comments

Bankole: Not sure I agree with you Akor. My current mechanic studied automobile diagnosis abroad and I pay a bit more to get my car fixed because I have suffered in the hands of jokers. Also most people don’t mind paying more for basic customer service, which the road side guy will not give you.

Akor: Well. You did suffer in the hand of mediocrity before you moved there. And still in that. I still doubt that you pay a chef or a plumber or a skilled Bricklayer. The gap is a circle. But not a lone standing circle. It overlaps with many of what we have mentioned in this discussion. From government to institutional failings. But I must say we should not exempt ourselves from the blame. Let’s put it this way. How many of us are willing to let our children or siblings study one of these courses without battling with the fear of a lost future?

Toks: They say the country is full of many entrepreneurs. I personally believe this is not down to choice but due to lack of job opportunities available after school and university. So people have to create their own destiny and create a business.  Creating jobs will come from investing in areas that have been neglected. Developing skills in these areas is where the focus should be to see the impact.

Gihan: Again it’s back to orientation. I’d rather my child learn that waking up early, applying your mind, being diligent, trusting and having a ‘stick to it’ mentality will breed success. Success maybe not measured by money but by self movement, self growth and self worth. “If do my work well, I will grow”, this orientation can only come about by having good youth focused leaders/government. It must be fixed at the core. The older generation or mentors as they would like to be called, didn’t teach the right methods. A line worker at McDonalds wants to work hard enough to become a franchise manager and then diligently enough to become a franchise owner. He works with a dream to success. Our dream in Nigeria is to become rich quick like our “mentors”. This is why a Doctor becomes a Car Importer, a Lawyer becomes a Developer and a Gateman a Petty thief. Orientation at the core. This is our gap.

Bankole: Let’s take a pool here. Who has not suffered in the hands of an artisan before? Artisans are a major main point. Let more enlightened folks get involved or at least manage the businesses and train them well. The world is evolving. before now very few people would have said they wanted their children to be entertainers. Now, we are all registering kids in music school. Unto what purpose?

Akor: Let’s pay artisans well, demand and invest in education of them (polytechnics).  That is the only way their standards will rise. The skill that is most lacking is that in the artisan industry and we must fix that. It is the bedrock of most things in society. Our ICT or Mechanical engineering degree needs a ton of artisan (and at this point that term is not right for them) skill.

Rijo: We would require skills & specialties that meet what society demands. Government however has a role in providing infrastructure such as broadband, equipping of laboratories, and spending on research.

The Octagon: We will close this conversation in 4minutes. Can we share our last points? Thanks

Gihan: This forum was very good and informative. My final comment is “Nigeria is in trouble”. Our orientation got us here and we continue to dip. I don’t believe in miracles.

Akor: I want us to invest personally and as a society in research and education. Not just school fees but get on school boards an influence the curriculum and training methods.

Rijo: In closing, industry and the educational system are mutually inclusive. One sets the tone for quality of graduates in terms of requisite skill sets, while the other helps with research, especially for the manufacturing sector.

Laolu: I believe in Miracles. That we are where we are and the country itself is still surviving is a miracle!  We need a mental reorientation!

Bankole: We need reorientation. We need to prepare our people for the future. This requires us going back to our institutions and preparing our students adequately for what opportunities lie ahead of us. This will require is revisiting our curriculum in partnership with the Labour market

Paul: I strongly agree with you bankole on that, Peter Theil said on a recent trip to China that the intensity of the Chinese to learn and relearn via the Internet is scary. I believe we can imbibe that same kind of hunger here.  It’s all in the mind. But how do we help mentally lazy people?

Ernest: The private sector doesn’t understand or see the need to invest in the overall training and skills development of young people. Particularly if they’re not going to directly benefit from it. Or if they feel like the worker might leave them. I think we have to change that mindset. No training or development is ever wasted.

The Octagon: Thanks so much for your contributions. We will notify everyone when we launch the platform and share on the site. Thank you, and have a great weekend.

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16 Responses

  1. Victor Dollar Kambai says:

    First i would like to thank you for creating this forum. it is indeed going to answer a lot of questions in the minds of people like me.
    i quite agree with Rijo and Bankole. For those of us that were opportune to go to the four corner walls of either the universities, polytechnics, or the mono-technics in Nigeria especially the government institutions will attest to the fact that any student who depends on what the institution has to offer,falls among the category of people Rijo spoke about. They graduate with just the head knowledge and nothing to show forth when it comes to the implementations.

  2. Nkechi says:

    I agree with Bankole.
    The Curriculum for Primary, secondary and tertiary Institutions need to be overhauled.

    I met a former lecturer at African leadership Academy South Africa yesterday, he told me that he’s in Nigeria because The Alumni of Federal Government Umuahia employed him to create a new curriculum for the school.

    I hope more organizations, individuals can do the same.

  3. Nkechi says:

    @Laolu. I completely agree that graduates should be willing to work with little or no pay while they learn the skills they need.

    However, you should consider that it is extremely difficult for some people to have a meal or even pay for transportation in the city.

    We can’t completely blame graduates and we should also not compare them to their counterparts in developed countries.

    Systems need to be put in place to enable them acquire these skills. More organizations should be willing to accept undergraduate/NYSC interns. Higher institutions should make some effort to get internship placements for their students.

    Did you know that the undergraduates who are entitled to some stipends during their SIWES program never get the stipends and when they do, it comes months after the actual time they need it.

    I studied foreign languages at OAU and the program requires that students travel abroad for “a year abroad program” in Germany. What my university offered me was “an equivalent year abroad program” at Goethe institute Lagos. The scholarship stipends given to me and 3 other top students in my class to help with our transportation, feeding, accommodation, tuition and books didn’t get to us till after the program and when it came, we got way less than what the German government had given us.

    So again we cannot completely blame the graduates, A LOT of us are working really hard with the little resources we have. Everything I know now I taught myself through reading and taking online courses.

    This issue runs deeper than we think and to find the solution we must start digging from the educational sector.

    My whole education has been in Nigeria, so trust me when I say that the system is rotten!

    • Laolu Alabi says:

      Hello Nkechi,

      My assertion was for Interns. Thats why I mentioned SIWES & IT. Not necessarily Graduates.

    • Laolu Alabi says:

      For graduates, I understand the need to provide the basics and hence money. But we find that graduates are more interested in the highest paying jobs than the ones where they actually gain the required experience and knowledge. Most of the few who are earning little are probably doing so out of ‘no choice’ and not a deliberate career move.

  4. Nkechi says:

    @Akor Well said! Institutions and organizations can bridge the gap if the Institutions will sit with industry leaders to discuss the skill sets needed for specific jobs and then build their curriculum around them.

    • @Nkechi
      Such communication will actually help in the design of curriculum and courses that the society needs. The distance between academia and the society has and continues to create fault lines which has made education seem distant from the needs of the Nigerian people. It is no wonder the murmurs that state “education is not important” seems to be rumbling though the society.

  5. Sarah A Ogieva says:

    Wow…this is off the hook
    I want to appreciate the Octagon for putting this forum together for me to learn, relearn and unlearn a lot of things. I strongly agree with Bankole, Laolu and Gihan, its so sad to see some graduates don’t even know their core value and they desire to work with high-paying companies. Its true our schools are not helping matters but I think we can start the journey of personal development and the government also have their role to play

  6. Towseen says:

    Great discussion topic. Just to add to the amazing points that have already been mentioned. For the most part, in Nigeria, kids are raised to do as you are told. That is, a child is not really given the opportunity to learn, think, analyze for themselves. This transcends from the home as a child to the education sector and then a professional adult. If an individual isn’t raised and trained to think for themselves or to be analytic or creative, etc. He or she will depend solely on what already exists and will not be willing to venture into new territories/industries. In addition, this affects an individual’s ability to self-reflect to see what areas and skills he/she needs to develop. If your whole life you have been told exactly what to do and you have done with distinction, without having to stop and analyze urself and ur surroundings, you are less likely to do so when u graduate university.

  7. Moyo says:

    This was a really great read. It’s saddening for me that for almost 10 years now I have heard and am still hearing that the Nigerian educational system has failed, yet in those 10 years like sheep to the slaughter I have had to go through secondary and tertiary education hearing this same truth from all the older brilliant minds that I’ve been privileged to come in contact with. We the young ones, the subject of these conversations,
    are aware that as things are, we are in trouble. So my question is: how do we get these brilliant ideas stated here to the ears of the parents, the school boards, the policy makers, the industry captains, the people who can truly translate the ideas into actual and tangible solutions and from whom we can demand implementation?

    • The Moderator says:

      Hi Moyo. Great question and feedback. This platform was designed in such a way to get these people you mentioned aware of the challenges and also guide them on possible solutions. We currently have some policy makers looking at this and honestly hope we can push move them to action.

  8. Tunji Lana says:

    Hi guys, interesting to read the thread of ideas and opinions and a lot of areas have been touched on. if i may just add to the plate…However a combination of factors have to improve not thats its one thing or the other thats the problem.

    Mind sets have to change, the economy has to change, the government has to reflect and represent with people that have a the bigger picture for the nation orientation for real changes take permanence.

    Yes our educational system isn’t great, but isnt that how we trump adversity? by striving to be better against all odds?
    we cant keep talking about the problems (they will never finish) lets put more effort into concrete solutions

  9. Uche Azinge says:

    I must say that I agree with Gihan. I think he is right on the money with his analyses of the root cause of our problem. He didn’t quite put it this way but it’s all down to personal integrity. When this blossoms on an individual level then and only then can it manifest on an institutional level. Not enough individuals posses the desired levels of diligence, honesty, and efficiency that Gihan mentions.

    The solution to our problems is a change in national consciousness. The older generation may be too far gone, but if we can begin to educate our children on the importance of integrity then there will be what can only be described as a miraculous transformation in Nigeria’s state of affairs. Integrity is so important that it should perhaps have its own episode dedicated to it, but i’ll go ahead and buttress my point with a little sermon on integrity.

    Integrity is a word that continues to fascinate me, and over the years the depth of its meaning grows within me. Originally, I understood the definition of integrity as an honest person. Later on, I realized that “integral” and “integrated” are forms of this word and have deeper meanings than just “honest” or “fair.” Our society considers an integrated person to be one who “has it all together” – educated, talented, successful, self-assured, etc.

    To have integrity, or to become integrated persons, means that all parts of our personality are mature and whole, or as much as possible in our human condition. Integrity encompasses our spiritual and moral maturity, our intellectual and cultural growth and training, as well as our emotional and physical well-being. An integrated person has all parts working in harmony with each other while reaching a level of development appropriate to age. Most of us have facets that are not quite in sync with other parts, but we still need continue to strive for the “wholeness” goal.

    My focus is on the younger generation and children though, because they are the future and they are still malleable. The most important part of helping children to become fully integrated human beings is through example. Where children see their parents/guardians/teachers/elders acting in age-appropriate, fully integrated ways, they will follow, for elders especially parents are the children’s greatest heroes.

    So why aren’t the skills gap trainings in Nigeria creating the desired impact? My answer could’ve been this simple; most of us lack integrity.

  10. Kelikume says:

    Well for me, the truth is it basically started from the cradle. There is a conditioning to be what we are not. So, before the overhauling of the education system and other great suggestions; our first point of education is our parents. To tutor us in our giftings and lead us on from there. And then you get to the basic education (Primary and Secondary), your core strengths in different subjects and skills (languages, intro-tech, numbers, words etc). No idea of how to combine and tailor those strengths to the kind of career you should get an education for and build it. The constant struggle of parents, mentorship and culture. “We want a doctor” they say… When you know you are just a sociologist. It is amazing! Old habits die hard, and only the strong can push through, break old habits and build new ones – linking this to breaking fear and learning the required skills. Fear built from childhood … not easily broken. Some people do enjoy and thrive been an employee, while others are entrepreneurs; and there are those that are in-betweeners. We can do it with time though. As things become better and the world gets more connected. Push through adversities. There are MOOCs now, You-Tube is breaking boundaries with the amount of stuff you can learn and build. And there is also the importance of divergence now and understand that our country is peculiar and narrow that peculiarity into our solutions. Our graduates are gradually coming into that, getting the needed skills. It is still in the trickling stage, it will take time but we will get there. Especially when we have people like Mr Kelechi Anyalechi, Mr Bankole Williams, Miss Steph Obi and many others.

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