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Our university system has collapsed− industries are rejecting our graduates, Minister laments
Anthony Anwukah, Minister of State for Education says industries are rejecting graduates from Nigerian universities because the university system is no longer producing graduates that can meet the needs of industries.
“There is a need for us to introduce a re-schooling project, the SIWES program is not providing the needed bridge between the students and the industry, this is not functioning and the industries have continued to clamour, they are refusing to employ our graduates,” Anwukah said on Tuesday in Abuja.
“At what point are we breaking the jinx of our graduates not been able to meet the needs of our industries,” he queried, speaking at the opening of a two-day retreat organized by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for Governing Councils of Nigerian Federal Universities.
The Minister challenged participants at the retreat to bridge the gap between Nigerian universities and the industry.
While suggesting a re-schooling project for the Nigerian students to better equip them for the field of work, he lamented that the Students’ Industrial Working Experience Scheme (SIWES) programme is no longer working due to what he called inadequate supervision.
“How do we address this challenge, the university system is trying to get industries to be part of what we are doing. We should look at how our graduates will be able to proceed on one whole year of practice in related fields.
“It is a big challenge and it remains a problem in the Nigerian university system, at what point do we find synergy, this is one of the problems the retreat needs to address,” the Minister said.
Speaking on the importance of creating new knowledge in the Nigerian university system, Ayo Banjo , Chairman Governing Board of the National Universities Commission, said the universities must be adequately funded for them to achieve high ranking in World University Ranking System,.
Banjo added that government subventions must be visible in the universities, noting that there must also be reasonable staff to student ratio determines quality of education.
“University is judged largely by quality of its academic staff, international faculty ratio and international student ratio are key elements of ranking any university in the world. Nigerian universities for a start should open doors to students in West Africa countries. This will open revenue for them,” he said
Banjo said by November 17, 2018, Nigerian universities would be 70 years old saying that ‘we are still at the infancy stage’.
According to him, the general belief is that the Nigerian universities system is preforming under expectations compared to what was obtainable in other developed countries and this must be looked at critically.
On the issues of universities ranking, Banjo said NUC will soon establish a local ranking system which would be appropriate for excellence.
Speaking also, Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of NUC, said the fundamental problems facing the university system were poor leadership, general underperformance and inadequate teaching and learning environment.
He said the problem of poor leadership had undermined the capacity of universities in achieving its mandate.
“Many of the problems in our universities today are traceable to bad leadership and this can also be traceable to human, financial and capital problems.
“Based on this, the NUC in collaboration with CPC and CVC have decided to organise the retreat of governing council of all 42 federal universities to provide solutions to the problems confronting the universities system,” he said.