1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
University education is at the centre of human resource development. The nation’s professional and highly skilled personnel such as Engineers, Administrators/Managers, Accountants, Surgeons and Para-Medics, Lawyers, Scientist, Technicians and Lecturers in various disciplines among others are trained and developed in the Universities. The world over, the fundamental mission of Universities, according to Brubacher (1982) and Oni (1999) is to promote the life of the mind through intellectual inquiry and to generate, store and transmit specialized knowledge and sophisticated expertise, higher forms of culture and ethical bases of conduct. The World Bank (1999) justify the usefulness of University education to a nation’s development and well-being when it states that particularly University education, is fundamental to the construction of a knowledge economy and the society in all nations. The importance of Nigerian tertiary education and University education in particular is aptly spelt out by the Federal Government of Nigeria in its National Policy on Education document (2004) inter alia: “To contribute to national development through high level relevant, manpower training; To develop and inculcate pooper values for the survival of the individual and society; To develop the intellectual capability of individual to understand and appreciate their level and external environment; To acquire both physical and intellectual skills, this will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society; To promote and encourage scholarship and community service; To forge and connect national unity and to promote national and international understanding and interaction.
According to Schomburg (2007), income and employment status are equally not satisfying indicators of professional success, while the question of being employed or not is not really relevant if the employment conditions are not considered. Furthermore, he said that most graduates work during their course of study in other to contribute to the course of study or to obtain work experience and the time of graduation is not the start of employment. In recent times, however, one major interest that have attracted public debate in many advanced countries as well as International organisations has centered on the relationship between Higher education and the world of work. Various reasons for this development are worth mentioning. Enrolment in higher education had increased in various countries of the world since the 1980s and growing unemployment in the 1990s fuelled fears that the mismatch between education and employment might be more pronounced. Furthermore, greater attention was paid to an increasingly complex and often protracted process of transition from higher education to employment.
Moreover, rapid changes in technology also suggested that graduates could no longer expect to remain in a single profession or with a few employers; they have to be more flexible and better prepared for lifelong learning. According to Teichler (2007), the relationship between Higher Education and the world of work now tend to emphasize popular issues such as the contribution of educational expansion to economic growth, the dangers of over-education, the diversity of higher education and employment opportunities, the rise of precarious employment, the growing role of ‘key qualifications’ and trends towards a globalization of the graduate labour markets.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
From a global perspective, economic and social developments are increasingly driven by the advancement and application of knowledge. Education in general and higher education in particular, are fundamental to the construction of a knowledge economy and society in all nations (World Bank, 1999). Yet the potential of higher education systems in developing countries to fulfil this responsibility is frequently thwarted by long-standing problems of finance, efficiency, equity, quality and unemployment. In Nigeria, though accurate data on unemployment is hard to come by, there is no mistaking the fact the country is today faced with very high unemployment rate. The everyday sight of the growing army of unemployed youths roaming the streets with despair written all over their faces attests to the gravity of the job market situation in Nigeria. Graduate unemployment, not to talk of secondary school leavers has reached a frightening level.
Year in year out, the tertiary institutions turn out tens of thousands of degree and diploma holders but only a tiny fraction find jobs, any job for that matter. Two principal factors, among others may be responsible for the growing unemployment problem in the country. One, the economy is not growing fast enough to absorb the high number of people, especially graduates coming into the job market.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. What is the employability rate of graduates in Nigeria?
2. Is education the only factor to influence employability of graduates in Nigeria?
3. What other factors that can improve the employability of graduates in Nigeria?
1.4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The aim of this studies is to critically study the evaluation of employability of graduates in Nigeria. The objectives are:
1. To Study the employability level of graduates in Nigeria.
2. To evaluate whether education is the only factor to influence employability of graduates in Nigeria.
3. To Study if there are other factors that can improve the employability of graduates in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The idea of the research work is to examine the employability of graduates in Nigeria. This project covers a range of subject peculiar to the evaluation of employability of Nigerian graduates. It covers the historical evolution of employment and employment processes and strategies. It also covers the procedural problems in the recruitment of job seekers and also how they can improve their employability. A range of employed and unemployed youths will be consulted to fill the questionnaire as well as some organizations in Nigeria. These are the aspects to be covered in this project.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work shall be of great benefit to the unemployed youths in the nation as well as Universities, parents and organizations at large. It shall also enlighten the youths on how they can personally make themselves employable in a competitive nation like Nigeria.
Majority of the employers attributed the graduates’ unemployability to their inadequate exposure to job-training schemes prior to graduation and to poor academic orientation impacted on the graduates. It shall enlighten Nigerian higher institutions to intensify exposing Nigerian undergraduates to job- training schemes, practical trainings and entrepreneurship education. Other researchers will find the work useful as it is a base for future research work. Finally it will also contribute positively to the field of knowledge, especially the field which this research is directed.