Severally, we have heard people say that Nigerian graduates are unemployable. It’s a very hard and difficult fact to believe. Have do we believe that after spending several years on education, we are then made to know that Nigerian graduates are unemployable? To this statement, I have three important questions to ask
- Do you believe that Nigerian graduates are unemployable? I want to know your opinion on the subject of the employability or unemployability of Nigerian graduates. You will do well by using the comment box to tell us you stand and why you believe what you have chosen to believe. To better answer this question, are you a graduate? If yes, then do you think you are employable? Do you think your fellow graduates are unemployable or otherwise?
- Is it true that Nigerian graduates are unemployable? Here, your personal opinion is not the most important thing needed. Rather the general opinion of the mass. Perhaps I decide to share my questionnaire or do a kind of random sampling on this subject, what part of the coin will have the highest votes.
- Why are Nigerian graduates unemployable? If we agree that Nigerian graduates are unemployable, then we must do well to find out why. Since every problem has a solution, then this problem should also have its own solution hanging around. It is in a bid to answer this question that I came up with this all important article
In most of the articles we have published on infoducation, I keep reminding our readers that we will stop at nothing in our bid to make students successful. Thus, this article will be helpful in a bid to control some menace in our education system. These menace affects graduates later in life as they proceed in their chosen career. Thorough study has been made on this subject we have been able to come up with these major reasons why Nigerian graduates are unemployable.
1) Certificate without skills: The very first reason why Nigerian graduates are unemployable is because majority possess certificate without skill. Unfortunately, things are no longer the way they used to be. Previously, companies employ graduates because the total number of available graduates were limited. But now that almost everybody is now a graduate, the standard has increased. Everybody now has a certificate. Therefore, attention has shifted from your certificate to your sabificate. The question is no longer what you have on the paper you carry everywhere, but rather, what do you know (wetin you sabi)?
Certificate minus skill is equal to unemployability. You see a civil engineer who will tell you how to build a house. They will give you the ratio of sand to cement to stone. They will tell you all you need to do, but in the field they will not be able to apply it. Oh! What a shame. Every organization has two major goals. First is to minimize cost and the second is to maximize profit. If so be, then employing unskilled graduate will not help the organization maximize profit. The organization will have to spend reasonable amount of money paying salaries of people who add no value to them. The importance of getting a skill cannot be overemphasized.
If you have ever seen a job opening, go through it. You will find out that in almost every available job, there required skills needed. This is why your years of experience is needed in you curriculum vitae. No organization will employ you if you are unskilled. This is why Nigerian graduates are unemployable. As much as you work had in trying to make a good CGPA, also put efforts in acquiring skills. In this 21st century, it will be difficult to employ people who are not computer literates. If you must gain employment, balance you certificate with skill.
If an organization want to conduct a recruitment for new staff, they go through your curriculum vitae to see if your skill matches what they want. If the vacancies available is just for 5 people and about 100 people submit their applications, with you CV, the selection process will be made easier. Those who have skills will be considered while those without skill will be neglected. You will be so disappointed to expect your department to teach you these skills. Although, it is their responsibility to do so, yet I must say that in this aspect, they have failed woefully. They will not take you in serious practical, therefore, help yourself. So with this point, check if you are employable or not.
2) The incidence of examination malpractice: This is the second reason why Nigerian graduates are unemployable. Examination malpractice has so eaten the Nigerian education sector to the point that graduates only have their certificate and nothing more. They possess the certificate but unfortunately, they are not able to defend it. If we are to employ people who are unskilled with the hope that though they are unskilled, they should be knowledgeable, we will end up in disappointment. Examination malpractice gives students fake results. Students will go about with the result that is not theirs. Recently, I heard of a particular organization that said they cannot employ graduates from a particular institution. They arrived at this decision because it was observed that examination malpractice has eaten the school like a canker worm.
Therefore, if you might not be opportuned to acquire a skill that will sell you, try to be grounded in your career. If you don’t know the practical aspect, be sure you know the theoretical part fully. If you have a colleague in the office who has good skills and you only have knowledge, combining the two will add value to the organization. Though it will be better that both of you were skilled. The scenario will be like when one knows what to do but does not know how to do it and the other knows how to do it but does not know what to do. When both are joined together, they then know what to do and how to do it.
3) Many undergraduates spend their time studying courses they are not interested in: This is another reason why Nigerian graduates are unemployable. Unfortunately, many people go to higher institutions because their friends and mates are into it. Thus they accept admission into any department they are given admission. We see that in this case, the student involved will not pay attention to studies because that’s not what he wants. One of my cousins told me that he will still go back to school to study his dream course after spending about four years reading political science. Therefore, I recommend that if you must go to the higher institution, know what you want and pursue it.
4) Undergraduates are not taught how to write a résumé or successfully approach interviews: The problem might not be that these undergraduates know nothing at all to be employed. The problem might be their inability to prepare good and actionable curriculum vitae or resume. As a result of this, people now take CV writing as a job and receive payments. Meanwhile, this ought not to be so if those undergraduates were taught CV writing. Also, they are not prepared to approach interviews, therefore they perform woefully in these two aspect. With these, they surely will never be employed. Worse of all is that some cannot write application letter.
5) Many undergraduates study course with low demand, yet many applicants: This is another stunning point I will not fail to mention. We see in our time that many people are after accounting, electrical and mechanical engineering, banking and finance, public administration etc. We know too well that the number of people studying these courses are too numerous and as such all of them can never be employed. Yet, there are courses that when your study very well the job comes looking for you. These courses includes but not limited to medicine, cyber security, software engineering etc. With this, I recommend that you read my article titled, “things to consider before choosing a career”.
6) Outdated educational system: Truth be spoken, the current educational system obtainable in Nigeria is outdated. For example, in my 300 level, we did a course on software engineering. We were taught various operating systems and their features. Unfortunately, the operating systems we considered as example were; windows vista, windows 2000, windows xp, ME, and NT. Nothing was said about windows 10, 8, 8.1 and 7. Someone complained and the course lecturer said that was our course outline. Students are been stuffed with outdated knowledge, neglecting the most recent ones. With this, we see that most of the reasons why Nigerian graduates are unemployable could be traced to the school system.
7) Students read to pass not to know: Majority of the students read to pass the course. They do not read to gain the knowledge. In other words, they are shortsighted. After the examination, what next? They fail to answer this question and this is another reason why Nigerian graduates are unemployable.
8) Unrealistic demands: I have followed nairaland job notifications. One thing I discovered most times was that the requirements for such jobs are unrealistic. For example, you see a job opening in which one of the qualification is that you must have about 10 years or more working experience. Of course, this requirement cannot be met by fresh graduates.
9) Discriminatory requirements: Apart from setting unrealistic requirements, employers are discriminatory in their requirements. Think of a vacancy that the requirement is a minimum of second class upper division. Some even go as far and bad as putting their requirements having a first class honour. What happens to those with second class lower or even third class? These people all paid the same school fees. Unfortunately, knowledge and ability is no longer by what you graduated with. Most second class lower graduates will better defend their results than the second class upper graduates. So we see that this is another reason why Nigerian graduates are unemployable.
10) There are no jobs: Let me not spend the whole time pointing out these reasons without stating that there are no jobs in Nigeria. Majority of the available jobs are likened to a married woman still seeking for another husband. Well paid jobs are very few and are not available for the poor masses. You only get them if you know somebody who knows somebody that knows somebody. So how will a graduate get a job that does not exist?
11) Poor motivation of teachers: In Nigerian, the government owes teachers too much. Most times, you see cases of unpaid salaries for as long as 6 months. Despite the fact that some of these teachers/lecturers complain that their salaries are poor, yet they are been owed that little one. How do we expect a hungry lecturer to give the best knowledge to his students?
12) Poor internship scheme: Internships are supposed to bridge the gap between theory and practical. But you see in Nigeria that most institutions do not follow up on the internship of their students. They send that students for internship but do not care if such internships were properly carried out. Many undergraduates, during their internships works as sales girl in shops, even when their course has nothing to do with that. Yet the school is not bothered.
13) Streamlining student’s thoughts: Institutions streamline the thoughts of their students. Rather, their thoughts should be wide and broadened.
14) Gap between educational system and the industry: There is a very big gap between the educational system and industry. There is no synergy between what is been taught in the higher institution and what industries and organizations require. It is said that when two elephants fight, the ground suffers. If there is discrepancy between the educational system and the industry, the graduates suffers.
In conclusion, we should try to give prestige to our education system. It will be completely shameful that after many years in school, you graduate as someone who is unemployable. No matter what people say as to why Nigerian graduates are unemployable, I stand to say that if we do the right thing in the right way and at the right time, we will become employable. The institutions have their faults. The government also has their faults. But unfortunately, the undergraduates are the ones that suffers it. I have shared mine own point, now use the comment box to share your own view on this matter.