The importance of Skill acquisition in Third World countries
The importance of Skills acquisition in Third World countries like Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Various schools of thought have stressed that for a nation to be economically self-reliant, it must diversify its economy, as well as encourage its youths to embrace self-employment through appropriate favourable policies. A Nation must create an environment that would encourage skills acquisition, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance. If Nigeria hopes to attain vision 2020 and the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) with the rest the World – human capital must be maximally harnessed to create economic value; And what better way is there to fully utilize human capital than Skill acquisition? As a country, we must take Skills acquisition to our tertiary institutions. A lot of our employers of labor and captains of industries have in the past few years said Nigerian graduates are unemployable. The norm is to seek the ‘first-class’ and ‘second class’ causing other classes of degrees to be at a disadvantage. This high concentration for shiny certificates has only made the academic field a ground for ‘get the certificate and forget the knowledge mentality’ which is the reason why some businesses thrive and others fail. A more viable system would provide an avenue for ordinary people to do extraordinary things, irrespective of the class of degree they possess – as we see in the McDonalds and FedEx of the World.
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What would it take for the best skills to be acquired?
For the right skills to be acquired and in accordance with best practices, the relevant infrastructures must be provided. For example, science students should be provided with state of the art equipment in the laboratories and libraries should be packed with books that are not obsolete. The curriculum must extend its tentacles to include vocational carpentry, hairdressing, fashion designing, photography, electrical and mechanical repairs – the list is endless. And after school, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) must do more to orientate serving youth corp members towards seeking alternative employment options, in particular, self-employment.
What is the state of unemployment in Nigeria?
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 14.2 percent in the 4th quarter, compared to 13.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016; during the period under review, the population of unemployed increased from 27.12 million in the 3rd quarter to 28.58 million persons in the 4th quarter, representing an increase in the number of the unemployed labour force by 351,015 persons. Of this number, both unemployment and underemployment rates continued to be highest for persons aged 15 to 34. The age bracket, by and large, represents the youth population in the country. One can go on reeling off the unemployment and underemployment statistics, as no doubt the figures are alarming.
How can you learn Skills?
Various schemes and programmes like the YouWin! SMEs – Growth Fund established in 2011 and the Subsidy Re-investment And Empowerment Programme (SURE P) in January 2012, both by the immediate past government and the N-Power Programme by the government of the day and currently being implemented, were all developed as viable options to cushion the effects of Job scarcity. These initiatives have no doubt done well in some quarters, but instead of towing the line of palliatives, it would be better if the government through the Nigeria Educational Research Development Council (NERDC) and in partnership with the private sector draw out a framework that will largely concentrate on Skills acquisition in the curriculum of our tertiary institutions – the World of works should be involved in this planning, since they can bring to the table exact skills and competencies they wish to see in the labour force, in other words, show the change they wish to see in Nigerian graduates. There is no doubt that if Skills acquisition is made mandatory in tertiary institutions, it would contribute its own quota to improving the economy, creating wealth and alleviating poverty.