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Opinion ED: The Solution To Nigeria’s Perishing Educational System

Posted on: May 4th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

Every creature is intelligent but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. It will live its whole life believing that it is stupid

The Nigerian educational system has been a thing of beauty especially during the era of our nascent republic. The crop of young leaders and their contemporaries that lived during that era possessed high levels of thinking, communication skills and articulate strategies for charting a new course for history.

Men of the older generation including; Bishop Ajayi Crowther, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and so on were all part and parcel of the full package of that kind of education.

 THE STEADY DECLINE OF EDUCATION

Somewhere during the late 90’s onwards, it was common knowledge that the standard of Nigerian education has fallen, based on the records of WAEC/NECO/JSCE/National common entrance., we have witnessed a steady downward slide in students’ performance in examinations, and several other important areas including confidence, articulation & leadership qualities.

A major reason for the decline in Nigeria’s Education System is her decision not to evolve with the fast-paced educational change the world is experiencing. The curriculum is still the way that it is. The standard was great for preparing students for the 80s but not quite for millennials and definitely not the future.

Another is the effect of brain drain, as the best of our academicians are all over the world. Brilliant professors have relocated overseas and the best of their efforts are over there instead of it being dedicated to our nation.

Increased unemployment factor is another pending issue because due to it, many people have resulted in teaching. These persons have little or no passion for the job, hence you can hardly blame them for going the extra mile. This affects the way they teach which affects what students know and of course their performance in the external examinations. Due to their inexperience, they don’t realize that everyone learns using a variety of learning styles but one learning style is usually predominant in everyone.

THE WAY FORWARD

Often times, we are blinded by the fact that we humans, all share same physical characteristics – Hands, Legs. Etc. We don’t appreciate and accommodate the differences in us. People have different learning capacities; people have different potentials. We can’t impose what we feel on students. We can’t continue to teach them what to think but rather how to think.

The simple antidote to these issues is that the Nigeria Educational System needs to restructure how Nigerians see education and empower her students effectively with life skills. The absolute most important tool for any child is ‘creativity’, students need to be taught the way to learn; explore their minds, trained to be thinkers, encourage innovations and entrepreneurial skills

Learning is the transformative process of taking in information that—when internalized and mixed with experienced, changes what we know and builds on what we do. Education, on the other hand, is the process of facilitating learning.

Due to the Complexity of the human brain, every individual is unique which proves that the process of learning will differ. Research has proven that humans basically learn using four learning styles, which are:

  1. The visual
  2. The auditory
  3. The read-write
  4. The kinesthetic

Understanding these learning styles and infusing them with the uniqueness of each child is what creates the best learning experience. The usage of these teaching techniques will make students see education as a tool that will give them an edge in life rather than a means to getting “paper” (certificate).

Finally, worthy people should be making the decisions about education especially the curriculums. These people should actually be in the system, be attending classes, be experiencing situations first hand. Not people who haven’t seen the four wall of the classroom since their graduation.

The Nigeria Educational System should focus on creating – A BUILDING OF FOURS WITH TOMORROW INSIDE.

TheOctagonYouthSpeak on the educational system vs the job market

Posted on: November 28th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Welcome To The Octagon.

We appreciate you taking time out to join this chat session which will end in 1 Hour. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

Femi: I am ‘Femi Akinseye, a 300 level Mass communication student at the University of Lagos. I am a part-time creative writer and voice-over artist. I also doodle in my notebook. I am very passionate about politics.

Beatrice: I am Nwoko Beatrice, a student of Mass Communication, university of Lagos. I am a motivational speaker. I love kids and music.

Afolabi: My name is Afolabi Oluwatosin Oluwabusayo, a student of mass communication, Unilag

Aramide: I am Ayinla Aramide. I’m a 300level student of sociology.

Adeola: I am Adeola Omotoye, a 300 level student of Mass Communication.

Shittu: Good evening everyone. I am Shittu Adedoyin. A student of Philosophy.

Inioluwa:  Hi guys, my name is IniOluwa and I am a passionate person focused on community development and nation building.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions. Our topic today is around the Educational System Vs Job Market.

The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is alarming and this is no news to even students still seeking admission into the universities. There is however, the hope that after the four years in school, an individual will get the opportunity to not only be hired but also get paid really well.

There is has also been the discussion that many companies complain about the quality of students finishing from Nigerian schools as they do not meet up with requirements and standards.

Do you believe that the educational system is adequately preparing you for the job market? Give reasons for your response.

Aramide: No. I mean there are courses that are offered in Nigerian Universities, where those who graduated with a degree cannot get a decent job. They usually have to switch courses for a second degree. The educational curriculum has not been reviewed in years, and it’s still breeding clerks and teachers rather than professionals. Undergraduates are not trained according to the needs of the modern Nigerian society, but according to years of repeated schemes of work. Also, the budget allocated towards education is nothing to write home about. Education is the bedrock of society, and it breeds other social institutions. But even the minister of education is clueless about managing the system. The reality is that not everyone needs to go to University. University has been seen as the yardstick for greatness, but I think Polytechnics are even more important – they teach technical and vocational skills that a graduate can use in the work force. Yet, people attend Polytechnics as a last resort to avoid staying at home. The educational system is in Shambles.

Beatrice: I think we need re-orientation. Most students just study to pass. No practicals, no genuine interest in what they’re doing. Most kids are forced to go to school. Not everyone is cut out for Formal Education.

ADEOLA: But we can’t exactly say the educational system is not preparing us because without the knowledge acquired there, we won’t understand the field of study we are pursuing. Then again, the situation of the country is not helping our educational standards because most people don’t use their acquired skills at their jobs

FEMI: It’s no news that well over half the students that graduate from Nigerian universities remain unemployed for a while. While we understand that there are hardly any jobs in the labour market and the government doesn’t really have any clear policy in place to combat that, the real question remains ARE THESE GRADUATE EMPLOYABLE?

The simple answer is no. At least a vast majority aren’t.

Our educational system is structured in such a way that the students right from secondary school are bombarded with information that is most likely irrelevant to their eventual career paths and they aren’t even given adequate orientation concerning the various available university courses to choose from and most importantly what to consider when making a choice.

These students eventually leave secondary schools and proceed to the University without a proper understanding of what they want to study and what they’ll do with what they’ve studied.

After getting the admission, they’re faced with a university curriculum that is archaic and outdated to say the least. They are also taught by lecturers who really have little or no field experience and are not in tune with modern day requirements for success.

It’s hardly possible for anyone to graduate with enough skills required to succeed in this kind of system, hence the unemployability.

ARAMIDE: True talk. I think students need to know that university education is not a do or die affair. If there are quality Fashion schools, Art schools and other vocational colleges, people would complain less about unemployment. Most business schools in Nigeria are only accessible to students who studied Business Admin as their first degree. Nigeria probably has the highest number of Primary and Secondary Schools in West Africa, and yet we have graduates that cannot even articulate their thoughts properly.

ADEOLA: This country’s system of education is lagging behind and this is one of the reasons many of the rich would rather send their students abroad to study and if they study here, they will do their masters abroad. When I start hearing stories and motivational quotes of the world’s greatest people and how they have succeeded without education, I just can’t help but wonder where this education is taking me.

FEMI: Another thing to consider is the amount of time spent in school and how judiciously(or not) the time is used.

A kid who goes to school everyday and learns fine art for only one hour a week out of the Available 30 hours or more, and then returns home to take some extra lessons which deprives him of time to practice design that he may eventually find himself pursuing a career in – Eg. art directing.

How then does such a kid reconcile the lost hours taking irrelevant irrelevant physics classes?

How does he make up for that lost time that his mates probably spent focusing on the arts?

Inioluwa: As a recent graduate, I cannot say that the education I received from the university has made me employable. Apart from a brief internship, I know next to nothing about companies criteria for employment. Education is not the culprit here, but rather management, policies and exposure are the real issue.

Shittu: Well, I do not think the educational system adequately prepares one for the job market. If it does,then every graduate would get employed easily. The educational system in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. We need creativity and ideas not just sitting in a lecture room and studying the same thing over again. For example, philosophers are supposed to be critical thinkers but in the university today, we do not study philosophy, we just study philosophers. After graduation, most students only know about the philosophy of philosophers and do not have their own philosophy.

Imagine this type of student being called for an interview, how would the life of Plato and Aristole get him a job ?

In the end the educational system just teaches us everything about nothing . It is after school we now begin to develop our personal skills which we are not given the opportunity to express in the lecture room.

Aramide: Agreed. There’s also the issue of conformity. In Nigeria, we conform too much. We shy away from speaking english with our accents. Take a look at China – English and other European languages are electives. You study them not because you have to.

(continue to next page)

Would you hire a non-graduate over a Graduate or vice-versa?

Posted on: September 5th, 2016 by The Moderator 4 Comments

Welcome to the Octagon

The Octagon: We appreciate you taking time out to Join this Chat Session which will end at 5pm (1 Hour). We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do ?

Gbenga: I’m Gbenga Totoyi. Head, People & Process for L5lab – a Tech firm with interest in Venture Creation and Funding across Africa. I’m deeply interested in helping folks resolve their career related challenges.

Debola: I’m Adebola Olomo – MD Deefrent Limited (Digital Agency – Web & Online PR/Marketing) nice to be here.

Ope: Hello guys, this is Ope. I’m a growth strategist with D’mastermind. We enable businesses grow.

Ibrahim: Good afternoon all. I’m Ibrahim Fearon, Managing Partner 1StepAhead Consultants. We do HR consulting, recruitment, vocational education for youth, and training.

Yvonne: Hello everyone, I’m Yvonne Anakwe, i lead Procurement,Travels and Logistics and Office Management at Fbn Capital

Bankole: Hi, I’m Bankole Ojo-Medubi. Managing Partner at Westwood Works. I’m an architect who specializes in woodwork and shipping container construction. Also COO at Fashion For Charity.

Demola: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, my name is Demola Adeyemo,  I worked as a HR executive @Gr8an and studying an action learning MBA and focusing on HR. Good to be here.

The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions. Let’s Begin.

There has been the talk about high unemployment in Nigeria in spite of the number of graduates from our higher institutions for a few years now. This has been attributed to two factors; high pay demands vis-à-vis low returns in business and the qualification of hands for available roles. Employers seek people who will fit with their company strategy and more importantly deliver the sort of value that will ensure the organization is profitable. Amidst these challenges more and more business owners are now faced with the question of hiring a graduate or non-graduate for value sake.

Some people are of the opinion that the academic setting is an artificial place where people are highly trained to succeed only in a specific environment. At the end of the day, people with a college degree are far more highly employed and make more money than those who don’t graduate.

What are the biggest challenges employers of businesses face in Nigeria today? Would you hire a non-graduate over a Graduate or vice-versa? Why? Would you agree with the school of thought that so many Nigerian organizations are seeking over qualified employees? Should industry pricing determine salary structure or should this be determined by each organization?

Gbenga: You can’t take away Industry pricing in certain sectors e.g Banks but, then more and more organizations are reviewing their peculiar talents, and their plans to stay afloat through these tough times. Organizational needs will always be different per time hence, the need to approach Talent Management differently – from type to cost, training and the likes. Personally, I will hire a non-graduate for ‘specific roles’ where I know they fit in or offer more value.

Debola: Some job roles allow for skill quest over degree but yet I will expect them to finish getting a degree while working. But will hire a skilled programmer with no formal degree over a graduate with lesser skill or passion. I believe the biggest challenge employers face is actually finding the right talent to fit dynamic new systems of business whilst using old formats of selection. But the crop of graduates these days though…..

Bankole: The reality for me, is that I have little choice in the matter. Graduates are very scarce in my line of work.

Ibrahim: Industry pricing as Gbenga said can’t be taken away from certain sectors.. However in my opinion I have employed a lot of non graduates for their passion, drive and have turned out to be of better value than graduates. However for organizations, Its all about fit, managing talent to ensure results are delivered. Graduates these days are struggling because we have half baked teachers who have no clue at all.

Gbenga: Half baked teachers in unapproved schools teaching courses that are no longer needed in the marketplace. I doubt if our universities and the associated elements see what the real need/focus of higher education should be about. Sure we all know a few who see it purely as money centres or places of pleasure/fun with the younger generation.

Demola: Would I hire a graduate or a non graduate? I can hire a non graduate that meets particular criteria as pertains to the job description and the strategic directions of the company. However this decision would be dependent on several background factors.

Ope:  I think the main point for me is, I need to get people who can add value to my organisation. Self starters, people who can think, plan and also execute. The question is do our universities produce these quality of people. Maybe, maybe not. While I do not rule out education as a bedrock for success in career, organisations of today need more than just having a degree for the sake of having one.

Bankole: In a previous, octagon conversation, someone said we have a generation of strategists and no implementers. But,  we also have a large untapped resource of millions of people that are our low skilled workers that have been totally ignored by the system.

Demola: But is it the graduates fault or the lecturers fault? I think our systems are stagnant whilst the business topography is rapidly changing always.

Ibrahim: Demola, The buck lies with leadership. How many professors do we have yet our educational system is comatose, what is the government doing to improve where we are today? Reason I say government is because unemployment levels 16-30 are ridiculous. In Kaduna state its 87%. Now tell me will anyone be willing to take on some of these youth who are tomorrows future? There needs to be a stronger emphasis on education in our businesses so that there’s a trickle down effect.

Gbenga: Demola, Great point on the stagnation..which is why I strongly believe, the onus is on young adults to wake up to the realities of the Marketplace and adjust asap. In my line of work though, I’ll rather put the Leadership debate at the foot of young adults – government all over the world is overwhelmed and can’t afford to ‘fix everything’.

Yvonne: For me it all boils down to the industry. Depending on what line of business I will employ either. Industry and role determines who to employ, I mean if you are employing a Doctor, it better be one who went to college. Some roles do need some sort of formal education. In the Industry where I work, which is Financial, about 80% of the roles there require you have more than a 1st degree plus experience and one can’t dispute that. To be honest guys higher education adds some Polish and finesse to a workers skill. I’ve seen it over and over again. Education is very important. It’s best they have some degree, at least it puts some structure to their passion, but I will take the skill and passion if good, but yet encourage education.

Bankole: True. But a lot of graduates aren’t ready to learn the workers skill, so there’s nothing to lay the polish and finesse over.

Yvonne: Hey Bankole, that is where training and motivating the staff comes to play.

(Continued on Next Page)
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