THE QUALITY OF NIGERIAN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS GRADUATES: PERCEPTION OF EMPLOYERS
Background to the study
A major problem in Nigeria today is the unemployment of tertiary graduates. There are thousands of students that graduate every year from various tertiary institutions with good/honorary degrees; yet without employment. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) (2010), unemployment in Nigeria is running at around 19.7 percent on average… and almost half of 15-24 year olds living in urban areas are jobless. The secondary-school graduates was said to consist of the principal fraction of the unemployed, accounting for nearly 35% to 50%; 40% for age group within 20 to 24years and 31% for 15 to 19 years. As imperfect as this statistics may be, it’s still does not tell a good story. At a seminar with the theme: Youth, Employment Creation and Shared Growth in Africa held at the just concluded African Development Bank (AfDB’s) annual meetings in Lisbon, Portugal, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, noted that most of the things students are thought in schools today is quite different from what is needed in the labour market.
The rate of development in Nigeria has been on a very slow pace because of this. This slow development has been as a result of the low rate of production. And the low rate of production has been adduced to the incompetence of recent tertiary graduates. Questions have arisen as to why the case is like this. Some adduced reasons were that: There are three major challenges currently facing the education sector in the country which apparently are the reason for the poor performance of the sub sector. These challenges include: incessant lecturers strike resulting in massive brain drain, lack of teaching facilities in schools and poor funding. – there are not enough vacancies to match the large number of graduates
– graduates’ specialization do not correspond with organizational needs in Nigeria – the graduates are technically incompetent/of low quality. The author further emphasised that the president stressed the need for universities to focus
attention to courses that could make graduates, creators of jobs rather than joining the pool of unemployed youths in the labour market, saying “We now need graduates who are problem-solvers and job creators, and whose characters will be enviable and unimpeachable at all times.”