‘Poor infrastructure responsible for poor quality graduates’
Head, Department of Economics, University of Lagos, Prof Ndubuisi Nwokoma, has challenged the Federal Government to invest heavily in universities infrastructure so as to improve quality in Nigerian institutions as well as improve the quality of Nigerian graduates.
He spoke on the sidelines of the 2015 Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department, held recently at the institution with the theme, “Youth Unemployment and Job Creation in Nigeria: Challenges and Policy Options.”
Nwokoma said developed nations right from time invested heavily in education and human capital, a development he said explains why today, the rest of the world is still struggling to catch up with them.
He urged government to partner with the private sector to ensure that tertiary institutions across the country have the infrastructural capacity to train massive number of students admitted.
In addition to this, he also advised government to make the country’s tax regime friendly so as to attract investments in diverse sectors.
“Unless government begins to pump in more funds into education, the public outcry over the quality of contemporary graduates may persist. In counties like South Korea, the secret of their development is education. South Korea is mountainous, they have nothing, but they invested in their human capital. Today, we have Samsung, KIA and Hyundai. They are all products of South Korea’s investment in innovations and human development.
“So, the Nigerian government should provide the backbone for human development by first providing learning infrastructure, steady power, supply good roads network and security, so as to address graduate employability gaps. Government should also create friendly environment that would attract private sector participation in building infrastructure in schools.”
He particularly lamented that today, “a lecture hall meant for 500 students today is being used for over 2,000 students because we have to admit more students due to the teeming population. All these affect quality as we are over-stretching our facilities.”
Insisting that with adequate infrastructure in place, Nigeria has what it takes to be the best among the comity of nations, he added, “Nigerians are very intelligent. Those that are fortunate to have good learning environments are on top of their games today. Others are striving in the midst of scarcity to come out strong.
The best graduate today is better than the best of yesteryears due to advent of technology and the worst today is worse than the worst of yesteryears. So government’s role is key in creating an environment that would enable Nigerian youths to hone their skills appropriately,” he stated.