Nigeria may call for extra year for graduates in tertiary education as the educational sector is currently undergoing some restructuring.
Anthony Anwukah, Minister of State for Education, disclosed this today at a two-day retreat for governing councils of federal universities in Abuja, themed ‘Elements of Statutory Governance, Procurement and Financial Accounting in Nigerian Universities,’ is aimed at addressing the challenges of the education sector.
Mr Anwukah said this was being considered because a lot of graduates are not good enough to be employed.
He explained that the extra year being talked about is similar that that which the medical and law students are currently undertaking.
“Law students attend Law School for one year before going for NYSC and medical students go for one year Housemanship 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.
He said that many universities are not producing good enough graduates, that meet the needs of industries that are to employ them.
“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.
He lamented that the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) system has failed in the universities.
SIWES, established in 1974 by the Nigerian government, is a programme of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). It is designed to give Nigerian students studying occupationally –related courses in higher institutions the experience that would supplement their theoretical learning.
But according to the minister, “the project is not working” and remains a major problem for the university system.
“There must be inflow of internally-generated revenue. Pro-chancellors need to think of business that can generate income internally for the revenue of the universities. Unlike pure water and bread, universities should venture into agriculture and real estate”, he said.
He said the governing councils must ensure that best practices are followed in accountability of resources.
According to him, the university system in Nigeria can still be said to be at infancy as the first university in the country is going to be 70 years this year.
He said Nigerian universities, except the private ones, have no meaningful academic calendar, although he noted that there are strenuous effort by the universities to appear on global ranking.
The Executive Secretary of NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, said the major problems in universities can be traced to bad governance.
“The retreat is coming at a time when NUC is embarking on reforming universities in Nigeria,” he said.
Ibrahim Njodi, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Maiduguri and representative of Committee of Vice-chancellors, said the retreat will examine a better way for policy implementation.
“We must say the education sector has been experiencing issues but this government means well for the sector,” he said.
The NUC was established to promote quality higher education in Nigeria.