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‘Rejig varsity courses to reflect current market needs, says Oyekunle

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Dr. Joseph Oyekunle

Chartered management accountant and consultant, Dr. Joseph Oyekunle in this interview with OMIKO AWA joined in the call for establishment of more universities and spoke on why graduates, irrespective of age, should acquire human development skills to tackle unemployment.

There have been calls for establishment of more universities, but others say governments should fund existing ones before granting new licenses, what is your position on this?
I still believe in the call because a university is a place to acquire knowledge and when we talk of human capital development, we are talking of knowledge. Knowledge is the basic thing; it is what every individual should thirst for and government should allow anyone that desires it by establishing more universities. The over 180 private and public universities for teeming Nigerian youths are not enough.

The United States of America has about 5000 universities for its over 320 million population and 50 states; so, those who desire university education should not be denied. But if government chooses to deny them, those with the means would go outside the country to acquire it. Since this is the case, why not establish more for the people. Knowledge makes things easier and also boosts one’s creative ability.

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Will having more universities not increase the army of unemployed, as those out-of-school are still seeking jobs?
The more educated people we have, the easier to understand government’s challenges and happenings in global politics and economy, and the country would not be too difficult for any government to manage. Education is key to life and should be the right of every Nigerian not just about jobs.

Unemployment is high among Nigerian graduates. How can this be tackled?
We need to look at those courses that are irrelevant to current situations and rejig them. If one takes a good look at graduate unemployment, one would discover that most of them studied courses that are irrelevant to current market needs, which is the reason for fractional unemployment. They are unemployed because no company needs their services, but to remain relevant, such students can always take up professional courses or training.

For example, Institute of Strategic Human Capital Managers is collaborating with University of Lagos (UNILAG) and University of Ibadan (UI) to train such graduates in human capital development and management. The institute admits graduates from different disciplines, including holders of Higher National Diploma (HND).

With the 32-week training for advanced diploma in human capital management and advanced strategic diploma in human capital management, such graduates would become human capital managers. These courses are relevant to public and private organisations, including religious and voluntary organisations. You really have to understand the dynamics of how to manage people to be able to achieve your corporate objectives.

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This is the reason this training is relevant, especially as it can assist unemployed graduates to go into other key areas of the economy and be gainfully employed. Even those employed still come for training to boost productivity in their work places, make themselves relevant and become competitive in the market.

What is the difference between the university and your institute since both are handling the same course?
Not all the courses we run are taught in the universities and even when they are taught, universities do not go deep enough. The Institute of Strategic Human Capital Managers has the approval of the Federal Government and Ministry of Education for training of human capital management and development for post-graduate students. The difference between the institute and the university is that the institute blends theory and practice to make its graduates more valuable.

How are organisations seeing this training?
Many are now appreciating the concept and have been giving us feedbacks of how graduates are re-organising things in their establishments. These organisations have realised that for their staff to deliver, increase productivity and achieve corporate objectives, they need a department to handle human capital management and plan ahead.

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