Kuni Tyessi, Abuja
The Director of Technology and Science Education of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Joel Ojo, has expressed concern about the widening gap and mismatch between the quality of graduates and the actual needs of industries.
Ojo who made this known, recently, at a stakeholders workshop designed to address the skills gap in the Nigerian education system and development of a training plan for teachers and laboratory technicians, said government was worried by the inability of many students to fit into work places because they lack the necessary soft skills required of them to perform.
According to him, as the percentage of unemployed graduates increased yearly, the issue of mismatch between what is offered in institutions of learning and the labour market is yet to be fully addressed, just as he acknowledged the inadequate capacity building for teachers which is a major factor responsible for declining quality of education in the country.
The Director who was represented by the Deputy Director Vocational Education, Mr. Emmanuel Ocheja said, â€œ the stakeholder workshop would among other things identify the mismatch and develop a national plan for continuous professional development of teachers and laboratory technicians, as well as identify sources of funding for these activities.â€
He noted with dismay that unlike the advanced countries such as Singapore, Nigeria has no approved Continuous Professional Development (CPD ), even though it is recommended that all serving teachers should undergo at least 100 hours CPD each year.
Various paper presenters at the workshop identified causes of skills gap basically to include: poor quality teaching, obsolete equipment input and studentsâ€™ teacher ratio, noting that students eventually graduate with deficiency in crcritical areas such as communication, technical competence, and analytical skills for problems solving.
Professor Bolanle Oni of Bowen University, Iwo , Ogun State, in his paper said graduates deficiency means that they will exhibit lack of integrity , self discipline, social value and ethics.
He observed that one of the greatest strength of a nation is the size of its skilled population, noting that while most countries without commodities for export are now relying on their human capital for sustenance, under- developed nations export their resources, unprocessed thereby attracting in-appropriate resources.