Wednesday, November 28, 2018 4:15 pm
Acquisition of practical skills in addition to theoretical knowledge will build a proper entrepreneur. Professor Olufemi Bamiro, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan stated this while delivering the Convocation lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure on Tuesday 27th November at the University’s Main Auditorium. Bamiro who spoke on the topic “Global Trends in Entrepreneurship: Whither the Universities of Technology? said “curricular for learning and development should be outcome-based or competency-based with input from employer/industry. The outcome-based design spells out what a student must know or be able to do at every level of learning. Modularization of the curricula should also be considered. This should be accompanied with competence assessment, which defines the essential learning outcomes and assesses performance rather than the required time in attendance.’’
Bamiro who was represented by the former Dean, Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan, Professor Ayodeji Oluleye, recommended the collaboration of academia and industries to develop varying skills that can engender a new crop of budding entrepreneurs. He dwelled on the concept of Triple-Helix partnership for sustainable socioeconomic development wherein interaction between government, academia and industry is crucial.
Speaking on graduate employability and skills development, Bamiro said, “Graduate employability requires a set of skills, understandings and personal attributes that make graduates and individuals more likely to gain employment, and be successful in their chosen occupations which will benefit them, the workforce, the community and the economy in the long run.”
He frowned at skills mismatch which he described as the gap between skills required on the job and those possessed by individuals. He said “imbalances between the supply and demand for people with different skills in all economies are sometimes inevitable. Effectively reducing skills mismatch requires the creation of a comprehensive long term strategy, one involving public-private partnerships among governments, employers and educational institutions (Triple Helix) to continuously develop and improve the use of skills.”
Making a global comparison on skills development and graduate employability, he said statistics reveal that Africa has the world’s youngest population with great expectation for education and nearly 60% of unemployed youth are between the ages of 15 and 24. He therefore urged African Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) to take a cue from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) report on graduate employability which says “preparing young people to enter the labour market has become a critical responsibility for universities. However, the relevance of their programmes and employability of their graduates are posing an increasing challenge for universities.”
The don said most models being developed by different countries, including Nigeria, in tackling skills gap have always placed premium on the need for collaboration between education and training institutions and the industry. In most cases industry is expected to provide input into the curriculum design and cooperate in offering industrial attachment places to students, such as SIWES in Nigeria.
Bamiro recommended national skills policy for the nation to develop its workforce. He said “for a nation to streamline and effectively coordinate its skills development programmes at formal, non-formal and informal education and training settings, there is the need to have a national skills policy which will standardize quality, harmonize and remove any disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower, build a skills training framework and upgrade the skills of workers.”
Speaking to the individual, Bamiro said “for people to fulfill their potential and be more productive, digital literacy and soft skills should be emphasized in training. This is because very soon all jobs will require digital proficiency, critical thinking, teamwork and effective communication skills.
On Nigeria’s challenge in the area of skills development, Professor Bamiro quoted the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo thus “Nigeria faces a Herculean task in plugging its skills gaps. As the economy grows and new technologies emerge, the demand for skilled, competent and technical employees will also grow. Much of the emphasis needs to be placed on educational resourcing and policy reforms issues that sit predominantly with government and donors. But the private sector has both a vested interest and a role to play in supporting the development of talent and the widening of the skills base in Nigeria”.
Bamiro challenged FUTA and other Universities to take the lead in nurturing technopreneurs in the Nigerian University system by doing a curriculum review that will impart skills into their products. He also urged the industry and the government to tap into the enormous resources in the academic by working in synergy through suggestive skill acquisition and development based on their felt need.
The Vice Chancellor , Professor Joseph Fuwape who chaired the occasion said the global development is entering a phase where entrepreneurship will increasingly play a more important role as the economies characterized by reliance on big businesses and mass production have given way to entrepreneurial economy. He said FUTA has keyed into building entrepreneurial skills in her students. “The entrepreneurship models have been developed to empower our students to be job creators and not job seekers. This is expected to stimulate growth in the economy and generate new jobs”, he added.
The lecture had in attendance members of the University Governing Council, the academia, traditional rulers, staff and students of the University.