Without beating about the bush, it’s no farce that education in Nigeria, in quality and in the index of relevance, has been on a nosedive for a long while. Seldom will you meet an average Nigerian graduate who can compete healthily by international standards; more than average are not even armed with the skill-set or training that make them fit our societal needs and peculiarities while passing through most of our ivory towers.
In most cases, our certificates are merely paper-worth, and knowledge isn’t really instilled for practicality. So, as a consequence, we’ve mourned years of unemployment and un-employability in a nation albeit blessed with huge potential. This decay on both sides of the divide is not far-fetched at all, and it really saddens.
Recently, I was reading a report by a visiting and independent development group, JOBiT, which ran a research in conjunction with the country office of the Department For International Development (DFID) in Nigeria. They rated 73% of Nigerian school graduates as “very poor” in aptitude, comparative advantage and quantitative ability. The outcome of this research simply echoed what most of us already know and as a teacher myself, it always hurts to hear.
Then, out of the blue, I heard about this trending topic about the establishment of a Technical University in Ibadan by the Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led Oyo state government. The Nigerian in me was skeptical at first, I had mused – how many of such new universities see the light of day in Nigeria?. But, from all indication, this Technical University, also aptly called Tech-U, is set to rewrite the narrative.
Reading through some transcript from one of our national dailies, the Oyo state government was quoted as saying that, _”the idea of the Technical University was birthed from the present Governor’s desire to transform and reposition education for real development in Oyo state and Nigeria in general”_ . And, in all sincerity and truth, this is what our youths need – applicable, practical, balanced, and most importantly, hands-on education; a form of structured education that will give our kids direct information to make them also become direct participants in the development drive and active employers of labour. This is the rescue our education sector needs, and as I already stated above, this is what Tech-U offers from all indication.
According to the information on the school’s website, the thought for Tech-U was conceived in 2012, and pitched into a public-private-partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria. This week’s commissioning 5 years later, attests to the fact that they are serious. It also attests to a fact that the Governor is serious about seeing the partnership through, and ensure that the first set of students do not miss the October 2017 resumption date.
The thing that strikes me most happily about the positive prospects of this TechU project are the array of special courses that will be offered in the university. They are indeed insightful and primed for solutions for the emerging society. Renewable clean energy resource technology, Biotechnology, Cyber security, In-vitro fertility technology, civil engineering, environmental engineering, aircraft maintenance, Industrial and production engineering, nanotechnology, manufacturing and foundry technology, among others, are the exciting disciplines that will be offered therein with the present and future in mind. These courses are in tandem with the university’s mission to cultivate a cadre of technical professionals with requisite entrepreneurial skills, capable of creating jobs and employment.
Personally, I’m very happy about this kind of development in a democracy. I love when our leaders think to proffer solutions that defeat a retrogressive status quo. At this inception, the Tech-U has the capacity to engage about 500 wards per year, and as a conscionable teacher, I can’t wait to savor the effect/outcome of this university on our youth and in our society.
Bamisaye Ajayi, a teacher, wrote from Educational Advancement Group, New Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria.
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