Minister seeks extra year in school for graduates

Nigerian students may spend extra year in specialized institutions after graduation to make them employable.

The Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, put forward the proposal at the ongoing Retreat for Governing Councils of Nigerian Federal Universities, organized by the National Universities Commission (NUC) with the theme, “Elements of Statutory Governance, Procurement and Financial Accounting in Nigerian Universities.”

He said the suggestion was being made because many university graduates were not good enough to be employed by industries.

“Law students attend Law School for one year before going for NYSC and medical students go for one year Houseman ship before they are allowed to practice fully, so it will be necessary for other courses to also go through this process,” Mr Anwukah said.

“The Lagos Business School can also serve as a one year after-school training,” he added.

“The universities are producing products that are not matching the needs of the industries. I urged the Committee of Pro-chancellors and Committee of Vice-Chancellor to end the decline in the standard of education,” he said.

“The SIWES projects introduced for a year industrial attachment for students has failed in the universities. It is not doing its role in bridging the gap between the universities and the industries,” he said.

He said that re-schooling would serve as a training ground for graduates to be well equipped on the rudiments of the course studied.

In his address, the Chairman of NUC board, Prof. Ayo Banjo, said the quality of Nigerian universities product failed due to poor quality research, saying, a graduate who cannot think properly is unworthy of the certification.

While calling for adequate funding to enable the universities fulfil its mandate, he said the presence of government subventions must be felt and visible in the Nigerian universities to meet and achieve excellence.

Prof Banjo, however urged the Nigerian varsities to open their doors to West African students to help them boost their revenue and also consider additional reform of the curriculum to help produce excellent graduates.

The Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed said the fundamental problems facing the university system are poor leadership, general underperformance and inadequate teaching and learning environment.

He said the consequence of poor leadership had undermined the capacity of universities in achieving its mandate.

According to him, the NUC in collaboration with CPC and CVC decided to organise the retreat for the governing council of all 42 federal universities to provide solutions to the problems confronting the universities system.

He therefore urged participants to remain focus in the deliberations and better equip themselves with proper leadership to move the universities forward.

Contacted to throw more light on the proposal, the minister said: “We are trying to sell an idea, the proposal is to get into our university system the re-schooling concept, that is you finish your university degree may be add one more year as a finishing school project, I don’t know how it is going to sell … but the idea has come as a result of the failure of SIWES system in the universities.

“We try to address the relationship between the universities, the industries and the graduates, how they can fit in and we introduced the SIWES project and it is not working and it is not providing that bridge between the industries because the most industries are unwilling to accept most students on the SIWES programme.

“We want to brainstorm and see whether we can add one additional year so that when a student finishes from the university he can now go out to industries for one year internship for that job. For instance, the law department had one extra year after the law programme  they go to law school, doctors go for one additional year.

“Are we going to continue with the SIWESS experiment which is not working or we are going to brace up to introduce an additional year of re-school whereby you spend that one year in any industry.

For instance, the Lagos Business School can serve as one year learning experience for students in business, accountancy and others, the NTA school in Jos can handle that of journalists – Daily Trust.

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