The high unemployment rate in Nigeria is clearly a clog in the wheel of the countryâ€™s development. Equally deeply worrisome is the quality of graduates periodically churned out by various higher institutions across the country.
Not a few employers have raised concerns that there are not just unemployed graduates littering the streets but also that most of them are largely unemployable given the gross vacuity of know-how particularly on practical competencies as demanded by the employers.
But, as they say, all hope is not lost. And this must have been the thinking behind the recent trip made by three senior lecturers from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland for broad partnerships in deepening capacity building, ultimately for the benefits of engineering students of UNILAG.
The team, made up of the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, UNILAG, Prof. Funsho Falade, the Head of the Department (HOD) of Chemical Engineering, Prof. Joseph Ajiboye, and Dr. Ola Kamiyo of the same department, had robust and promising deliberations with top lecturers and administrative staff of the UK universities focusing on ways which latest academic modules combined with opportunities for practical skills that are useful for students, especially those that will pursue careers in the Nigerian oil and gas space, can be made available.
Frankly, unambitious successive Nigerian governments should be largely blamed for the conditions of both the unemployed and unemployable sets of graduates littering the country. A visit to the departments of most academic disciplines that require practical training will show that such departments are completely out of tools or filled with obsolete equipment.
Certainly, without the aid of an indigenous oil service company which facilitated the trip and also promised to provide practical materials to the Department of Chemical Engineering, UNILAG, the Nigerian lecturers most of whom are on meagre wages and who usually have their salaries delayed wouldnâ€™t have given much thought to practical teaching let alone international partnerships to improve learning.
Hopefully, the government will avoid creating more local calamities where there are prospects for sustainable local content across sector.