FG Considers Extra Year of Study for University Graduates

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The federal government is considering a major policy change to its tertiary education that would see graduates go for an extra year of studies.
The Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwukah, disclosed this yesterday at a two-day retreat for governing councils of federal universities in Abuja.

The retreat, held under the theme: ‘Elements of Statutory Governance, Procurement and Financial Accounting in Nigerian Universities,’ is to address the challenges of the education sector.

Anwukah said this was being considered because many university graduates were not good enough to be employed by industries.
He said the proposal was similar to the extra year currently being undertaken by law and medical students.

“Law students attend Law School for one year before going for NYSC and medical students go for one year Housemanship before they are allowed to practice fully, so it will be necessary for other courses to also go through this process,” Anwukah said.

“The Lagos Business School can also serve as a one-year after-school training,” he added.
Anwukah said the university system has let Nigeria down in the country’s quest for industrial development.
He said the universities have failed to produce graduates that meet the needs of the industries.

“The universities are producing products that are not matching the needs of the industries. I urged the Committee of Pro-chancellors and Committee of Vice-Chancellor to end the decline in the standard of education,” he said.
He lamented that the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) system has failed in the universities.
Anwukah said the Nigerian university system has failed in producing quality graduates who should be employed in Industries, following its inability to meet their demands.

He challenged participants at the retreat to bridge the gap between Nigerian universities and the industry.
According to Anwukah, ”At what point are we breaking the jinx of our graduates not been able to meet the needs of our industries ”
He charged like minds to accept the challenge and begin to fashion out solution .

“It is a big challenge and it remains a problem in the Nigerian university System, at what point do we find synergy, this is one of the problems the retreat needs to address” the minister said.
Speaking on the importance of creating new knowledge in the Nigerian university system, the Chairman Governing Board of the National Universities Commission, Professor Emeritus, Ayo Banjo said for Nigerian universities to achieve high ranking in world university ranking system, the universities must be adequately funded.

Banjo added that government subventions must be visible in the universities.
He emphasised that reasonable staff to student ratio determines quality of education.
He called for curriculum reforms in the universities to produce excellence graduates which would place Nigerian universities on the world map.

Former NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Munzali Jibril, was optimistic that the issues raised in the retreat would help address the problems faced in the universities.
Also, Prof. Ibrahim Jordi, representing the CVC said with knowledge gained from the retreat, the level of education in the Nigerian universities would be improved upon.