By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A development expert, Tope Toogun has insisted that the contribution of employers of labour is essential if the country’s educational curriculum must be fashioned to meet the demands of contemporary times and tackle the issue of graduate unemployment.
Toogun, who was guest speaker at the launch of the book, ‘The School Guide’, regretted that the current system of education in Nigeria prepares graduates for the past rather than the future.
“Our educational system is still preparing graduates for the industrial system of work when society is now thinking of how to do things differently. Ten years ago, we did not see where the jobs will come from, so we could not prepare adequately.”
To remedy the situation, he said the government and all stakeholders in the education sector should come to a round table, appraise the management of the education system in the country with a view of making it more relevant to contemporary times.
“We have to go back and look at the system of management of our education to see if it is one that would do this transformation, it is then we can focus on the system itself and look at resources. Currently we make the mistake of thinking it is a question of resources, but the real question is where are we putting that resources.
He added: “We have to moderate conversation between those who are employing labour because they are the ones who know the skills they are looking for and they keep complaining that they don’t have access to those skills. The people who are producing the skills have to sit in the same room with those who demand the skills so that there can be an understanding and we can use that to transform the curriculum to make it more responsive to what society is looking for.
He said until the country’s higher institutions adapt to their immediate environment, they will go into extinction, adding that, “to adapt, we must bring what operates in the corporate sector into education.”
He stressed that the change needed in the education sector would be best driven by private schools and urged them to make good use of the book in positioning themselves for such leadership.
The author of the book, Angela Ajala, said she was motivated to write the book to address the issue of standards and poor regulations in the education sector. “Education has become an all comers affair, everybody wakes up and opens a school and nobody is stopping them, so we feel if you are going to start a school, you must do it well and this book provides the guidelines and foundations that would enable you run a school effectively.”