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Nigeria At 58 And The Un-employability Of Nigerian Graduate by malachytochukwu(m): 11:49pm On Oct 01, 2018
As Nigeria’s independence is celebrated today, I congratulate Nigeria as she clocks 58 years.
As a concerned Nigerian, who has experienced bit of the Industry and the academic sector, I make bold to say that every well-meaning Nigerian should be concerned about the continued reliance on expatriate input in handling technical jobs in Nigeria especially in the Oil and Gas industry. This bothers me a lot.
There is a monumental lacuna between the Nigerian education sector and the industry. In fact they are so parallel that the two sides exist independent of the other. This disconnect has served as the major culprit in the ‘un-employability’ of the Nigerian graduate. This is not completely the fault of the Nigerian graduate neither is it the exclusive fault of the elites in the Nigerians citadel of higher learning. I blame both, but more of the blame should be to the system itself.
Today, I met a seasoned pipeline and fabrication engineer in one of the big gas plants in Rivers State. I and a colleague conversed with him for some minutes; you would have appreciated my concern if you listened to him talk. My colleague was impressed that he said ‘sir, this your knowledge must go to school’. Yes of course, that kind of practical knowledge is nowhere close to our schools.
It bitters my soul that these legends that passed through hell to garner their knowledge are not given the opportunity to ‘spread the gospel’. They die with this un-quantifiable knowledge untapped. This cycle of ‘very important knowledge’ being lost with reckless abandon should not be condoned and measures should be put in place to mitigate such occurrences.
There must be ways, if you like call it laws that should ensure that the knowledge is passed early enough to the younger generations especially our young and vibrant undergraduates.
Without getting you so bored, let me proceed with strategies that I think that if employed by the Federal government of Nigeria would result in perfect transfer of information from the very experienced men to the vibrant graduates.

1. People with industry experience should be favoured to work as lecturers in Nigeria’s Polytechnics and Universities more than people who are not exposed to the field. This will ensure that these people have access to the young brains. You can only teach appropriately what you have seen and /or used.
2. There should be a scheme to facilitate part-time lecturing from experienced people who are willing to give back to the nation their wealth of knowledge.

3. There should be a compulsory eighteen (18) months National Experienced Service Scheme that all experienced persons of over 10years must partake in. A certificate will be issued and such persons with the certificate shall be treated favourably in matters where certain points are considered like in federal government contracts. Companies that have higher number of their employees with such certificates should be favoured. Experienced job adverts should clearly state that people with the certificate would be considered first. This will go a long way.

4. There should be a department in the Ministry of education to facilitate the free publication of practical experience by any of the experienced fellows. Most of these experts do not have time to put their knowledge on paper. This is where the department comes in. They will ensure that all information is extracted from these legends and published in their names.

5. Only experienced people in the industry should be made project supervisors of final year, masters and PhD students. This will ensure that these projects are tailored towards industry specific problems and if successful, can be a major starting point for these young graduates who solved industry challenge through their academic project. This will ensure the relevance of graduate projects in the industry unlike what we have today where even PhD projects are littered everywhere with zero utilization.

6. Every industry must be compelled to take at least five(5) students annually to expose them to the industry practice. The evidence of this will serve as the major baseline towards the company’s eligibility for annual permit/license renewal.

7. The industrial training scheme should be reformed to reposition it towards better delivery.
If all these steps are implemented, Nigeria will have graduates who are in tune with industry activities, they would be become employable and this will eventually lead economic to emancipation of our dear country with few dollars spent on imported manpower.

Ogbu Tochukwu works with Osten laboratory limited, an Environmental and Oil & Gas Testing laboratory in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.

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