Don, V-C Call for Review of Curriculum to Address Needs of the Society

Nigeria will face more socio-cultural and economic problems if urgent steps are not taken to redesign the country’s educational curriculum.

This was the view of Professor Tugwel Agina-obu, in his inaugural lecture on Thursday, June 28, 2018, at the auditorium of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt.

Titled “The Nigerian Socio-cultural Milieu and School Curricular Offerings: The Need for Integration between Town and Gown”, Professor Agina-Obu called for a curriculum that would be based on the economic and social needs of Nigeria in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

He regretted that the nation has produced what he called so many certificate carriers without employable skills that ought to drive the wheel of the industries because the nation has paid little attention to the type of education that could provide livelihood to large proportion of the youths.

Professor Agina-Obu noted that the level of unemployment in the country has risen to unbearable and risky social menaces and household economic crisis.

He pointed out that the situation would become worse unless the orientation of dependence on white-collar jobs is changed so that students would begin to think about job creation rather than how to seek for employment after school.

The university don affirmed that the spate of kidnapping, armed robbery, prostitution, trafficking and other social vices threatening the nation’s security could be greatly reduced if the youths are gainfully engaged in entrepreneurship education and development.

To achieve this, the inaugural lecturer suggested for a compulsory four year curriculum where students would be subjected to 60 per cent practical and 40 per cent theory in a skill of choice alongside their chosen course of study, with accredited skill acquisition centres to regulate the training and implementation of the curriculum.

As a way out of these challenges, the erudite scholar called for a deliberate policy by the federal government for compulsory acquisition of skills by students to complement their course of study.

He urged the National Universities Commission (NUC) to ensure that such policy is strictly adhered to by every university as a bench mark, as he called for the renaming of the Students Industrial Work Experience (SIWES) to University Students’ Skill Acquisition Programme (USSAP), and urged the body to ensure that students are posted to organizations where they could acquire skills of interest to them.

He also recommended that the three tiers of government and corporate organisations should make annual budgetary allocations to the programme, while wealthy individuals should be encouraged to institute endowments to the programme.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele, said he was glad that the lecture was coming at a time when the curriculum of Nigerian school system could no longer provide for the graduates.

Emphasizing that it was time to review the academic curricular of most Nigerian universities as many of them graduate students who cannot fit into the labour market, he agreed with the submissions of the inaugural lecturer for regular review of the curriculum to tally with the needs of the industries.

He disclosed that the university had already introduced a compulsory zero credit unit course on entrepreneurship which would enable students to be awarded a certificate in a skill of their choice.

He said the essence was to ensure that students who graduate from the university would have a skill to fall back on instead of waiting for white-collar jobs, and pointed out that the lecture would reveal how the town and gown could collaborate to solve the socio-cultural and economic challenges of the Nigerian society.

Meanwhile, the Registrar, Mrs Hope Kue-Ikoro has described the lecture as revealing, especially as it relates to educational curricular, youth unemployment and social vices in the society.

She also hailed the recommendations by the lecturer, and disclosed that the university had already concluded plans to commence the implementation of the recommendations offered.

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