A Professor of Economics of Education at the University of Ibadan, Professor Segun Olugbenga Adedeji has charged managers of Higher Education Institutions to think of curriculum reforms in the University system that will prepare University graduates to cultivate qualities and attributes most sought after by potential employers.
He noted that market driven skills such as motivation, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills, the ability to work independently and also in groups and teams, as well as confidence building and adaptability that are needed in the labour market are in short supply in higher education graduates.
Professor Adedeji said that higher education institutions, particularly the universities must prepare the students to be problem solvers, to meet the challenges of a changing world and to help students to improve their knowledge and skills to meet the demands of employers and the dynamics of the workplace.
Professor Adedeji gave the advice while delivering the 533rd Inaugural lecture of the University of Ibadan.
The lecture was entitled “The Nigerian Higher Education System: The Twin Problems of Inadequate Funding and Graduate Employability”
The inaugural Lecturer observed that universities should not be held accountable for the devastating war, that unemployment is waging on the productive capacity of the youth, adding that the absorptive capacity of the economy also comes into play in determining the rate of employment of even the highly employable youths.
He suggested that a multi sectoral and tripartite approach, between the government, the institutions, and parents and all stakeholders should be put in place to nip the hydra headed problems facing the Higher Education system in the bud.
He recommended that there should be an increase in public and private investment in higher education while higher education institutions should be allowed to develop a mechanism to promote diversity within the institutional landscape as against the present centralization of programmes.
Professor Adedeji also recommended that there should be improved industry-university collaborations, while universities should, as a matter of urgency, strengthen the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme across programmes in the sciences, and practicum for arts related courses.
He also recommended that the NUC programmes accreditation system should be reorganized and workshops organized regularly for standards and procedures in curriculum development and review for higher education institutions.