The former vice chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro has said that acquisition of practical skills in addition to theoretical knowledge will enhance entrepreneurship and curb unemployment.
Prof. Bamiro stated this while delivering the convocation lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
The don who spoke on the topic: “Global Trends in Entrepreneurship: Whither the Universities of Technology?, said curricular for learning and development should be outcome-based or competency-based with input from employer/industry.
He noted that the outcome-based design spells out what a student must know or be able to do at every level of learning.
Prof. Bamiro said “modularization of the curricula should also be considered, accompanied with competence assessment, which defines the essential learning outcomes and assessing performance rather than the required time in attendance.”
The don who was represented by the former dean, Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan, Prof. Ayodeji Oluleye, recommended the collaboration of academia and industries to develop varying skills that can engender a new crop of budding entrepreneurs.
He dwelled on the concept of Triple-Helix partnership for sustainable socioeconomic development wherein interaction between government, academia and industry is crucial.
Speaking on graduate employability and skills development, Prof. Bamiro said, “Graduate employability requires a set of skills, understandings and personal attributes that make graduates and individuals more likely to gain employment, and be successful in their chosen occupations which will benefit them, the workforce, the community and the economy in the long run.”
He frowned at skills mismatch which he described as the gap between skills required on the job and those possessed by individuals.
According to him, “Imbalances between the supply and demand for people with different skills in all economies are sometimes inevitable.
“Effectively reducing skills mismatch requires the creation of a comprehensive long term strategy, one involving public-private partnerships among governments, employers and educational institutions (Triple Helix) to continuously develop and improve the use of skills.”
Making a global comparison on skills development and graduate employability, he said statistics reveal that Africa has the world’s youngest population with great expectation for education and nearly 60 per cent of unemployed youth are between the ages of 15 and 24.
He, however, urged African Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) to take a cue from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) report on graduate employability which says “preparing young people to enter the labour market has become a critical responsibility for universities. However, the relevance of their programmes and employability of their graduates are posing an increasing challenge for universities.”
The don said most models being developed by different countries, including Nigeria, in tackling skills gap have always placed premium on the need for collaboration between education and training institutions and the industry. In most cases industry is expected to provide input into the curriculum design and cooperate in offering industrial attachment places to students, such as SIWES in Nigeria.
He recommended national skills policy for the nation to develop its workforce.
He said “for a nation to streamline and effectively coordinate its skills development programmes at formal, non-formal and informal education and training settings, there is the need to have a national skills policy which will standardize quality, harmonize and remove any disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower, build a skills training framework and upgrade the skills of workers.”
Speaking to the individual, Bamiro said “for people to fulfill their potential and be more productive, digital literacy and soft skills should be emphasized in training. This is because very soon all jobs will require digital proficiency, critical thinking, teamwork and effective communication skills.
The vice chancellor, FUTA, Prof. Joseph Fuwape who chaired the occasion said the global development is entering a phase where entrepreneurship will increasingly play a more important role as the economies characterized by reliance on big businesses and mass production have given way to entrepreneurial economy.
He said FUTA has keyed into building entrepreneurial skills in her students.
“The entrepreneurship models have been developed to empower our students to be job creators and not job seekers. This is expected to stimulate growth in the economy and generate new jobs,” he added.
The lecture had in attendance members of the University Governing Council, the academia, traditional rulers, staff and students of the university.