The Chief of Staff to the President, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has challenged Nigerian tertiary institutions to be intentional about producing world class graduates that will compete in the global market of employability.
He spoke during the 35th Convocation Lecture of Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) on the topic: “Empowering Nigerian Youths in the Present Day Economy.”
Gbajabiamila said the twenty-first century is not merely about skills acquisition and specialisation but disruption and reinvention while quality education in the 21st knowledge economy must empower the individual to operate effectively in multiple fields, to ask hard questions and challenge the status quo.
According to him, “The purpose of 21st-century education is not merely skills acquisition and specialisation but disruption and reinvention. How do we achieve this? We do this by reviewing our curricula and teaching methods to situate our practices in the context of global labour needs.
“We require a programme of aggressive and sustained investment in education. Not only in the physical infrastructure of classrooms and lecture halls but in technology hardware and software to facilitate information exchange and innovation.”
He further noted that many skills that guaranteed employment and a healthy income for previous generations have been made redundant by technological advances.
He opined that this generation will not only be competing with one another for opportunities, but they will also be competing in a global marketplace, against students from all over the world, and against technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, blockchain and financial technology tools that are increasingly replacing the human function in the workplace, hence, the need to prepare the would-be graduates.
The Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Engr. Ibraheem Abdul, in his welcome address said that the nucleus of the national manpower development agenda towards youth empowerment is one of the cardinals of the institution aimed at making Yabatech the hub of technological advancement.
“To achieve these noble goals, this administration has put in place several laudable initiatives targeted at youth empowerment, amongst which are the Quadruple Helix Collaboration Scheme for Youth Empowerment; establishment of Centre for Technology Marketing and Product Development; YCT Industry Alliance Group (YIAG) Program and Students Work and Study Scheme”, says Abdul.