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On wrong mindset Nigerian education gives graduates must change

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By Tony Emeka Nwosu

Here in Nigeria, the mindset of every prospective graduate; be it from the university, polytechnic or any other higher institution of learning is to complete National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and secure a paid job.

Though this concept had worked during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, it clearly ended working from the 1990s and now in the 21st century, the validity has technically expired.

Abroad, if you meet an American or European and you are asking for a job, the first question is what can you do? Not what degree you have! Most Nigerian firms especially the private ones are looking toward these core areas, skills and outsourcing! I know a lot of firms in Lekki that their big earners don’t even have big fancy degrees, these guys are hot in IT, great animators, writing over 8 coding languages yet they don’t have fancy degrees! Most of the big businesses today their founders never had fancy degrees when they started!

Yes degree is good but unfortunately, our education system makes us to think of working for people after graduating unlike the Chinese model that makes the graduate create jobs..

Why is it that average Nigeria graduate want to work in an already established companies. Can’t you develop yourself with the knowledge you acquired in school? When I graduated my dad told me to go learn furniture making! I was like me with all the degree! I grew up amongst Benz mechanics, I loved engines and timing of these engines, had experience (though on a novice scale) I can detect engine issues by looking at the exhaust fumes but due to I am a graduate mentality I couldn’t learn the nitty gritty of Benz engines…if I had, by now automedics and computing (OBD) would have made me an authority in Benz Engineering (good educated mechanics are scarce today)

With the way Nigeria’s population is shooting up daily, coupled with the unbelievable number of graduates being churned out yearly from our- Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, it is no longer a news that there can never be enough ready-made jobs or job openings that would absorb this abnormal population, so what do you do? Act fast!

I have interviewed people over the years and my friends are still doing that…they don’t actually care about the fancy degrees or the big lies you blow in the CV! They know you can’t defend it on most occasions (not all and this isn’t a blanket statement) and with automation and digitisation, jobs are been lost to machines and areas of specifications blurred.

Today firms are outsourcing services from cleaning to janitorial work, from accounting to legal work! Most smart private firms don’t keep 24/7 staff in their workplace! It is expensive so the outsourcing space is the new thing now! In my company and some other firms I have known, they don’t even have cleaning staff, they outsource

So as a graduate, what is your value proposition? What skills are you looking at, what can you offer the firm not some fancy degrees ! Who cares about that, how many did Dangote have before he floated his firm, or Coscharis or Innoson Motors or even Baba! It is about skills …. In today’s workplace skills rules!

The unemployment situation in Nigeria has gone beyond having faith, being intelligent, knowing people, graduating from the best school and with the best result..

SME remains a waiting employer only if our graduates can understand the code.

*Nwosu, a social commentator, wrote in from Lagos

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