Minister, Varsity Teachers Differ on Obsolete ICT Curriculum

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Emma Okonji

Worried about the dearth of information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills among graduating students across Nigerian universities, especially those graduating from Computer Science departments, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has said that university teachers should be blamed for the situation.

But in a swift reaction, a university don and Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Agriculture, Umudike, in Anambra State, Prof. Vincent Asor who is the President and Chairman of Council, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), exonerated varsity teachers of the blame, which he said was as a result of students’ attitude to learning.

According to Asor, “There is absolutely nothing wrong with the university curriculum, relating to Information Technology courses. I am a university teacher and Professor of Mathematics and Mathematical Modeling. Before now, universities lack teaching aids, yet the lecturers and students were doing well. What has gone wrong in the university system is not essentially systemic alone, but also about the people involved.”

The minister however said there are several issues wrong with ICT curriculum in universities, since university graduates from Computer Science departments cannot boast of designing a simple website after graduation. He said university authorities and their teachers should be blamed for the poor state IT curriculum in universities and other tertiary institutions.

“The university authority may want to blame the situation on funding, but the truth is that there are lots of intervention funds for them. So if their IT curriculum syllabus is becoming obsolete, it is their duty to cry out to government. It is the duty of lecturers and managers of ICT education in our various universities to let government know their predicament. It is a thing of shame that universities will graduate students from the Computer Science department, and the students do not have the slightest idea of how to develop a website and they expect employers of labour to start retraining fresh university graduates to make them employable,” Adebayo said.

The minister however explained that the ministry is in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to train university graduates on practical skills, through the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) that is designed to train several Nigerians on ICT skills, and that the scheme is open to all graduating students, irrespective of their disciplines.

According to Asor, students that are extremely good and avoid distractions in class, graduate with First Class Honours, while those that allowed themselves to be distracted by other things, struggle to graduate with a pass degree certificate, whereas both set of students were thought, using the same curriculum. “So I do not think the issue is with the curriculum, but with the students. University curriculum is good and workable, the staff strength is there, the lecturers are sound and up-to-date, but some of the students are the course of their woes,” Asor said.