The Federal Government has disclosed that the new education curriculum being developed will focus on skills and entrepreneurship in a bid to enhance the employability of graduates.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, stated this just as stakeholders decried that schools are not providing students with the required skills to tackle emerging challenges, particularly in technology, science, and engineering among others.
Speaking at a one day summit entitled, ‘Transforming Education Summit” organized by the National Universities Commission (NUC), on Thursday in Abuja, the Minister was represented by the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Arc. Sonny Echono noted that the whole world is now focusing on education because of the central role it plays.
He noted that the summit which is being held ahead of the global summit in September in New York by the United Nations Secretary provides the opportunity to brainstorm on the many challenges facing Nigeria’s education sector such as poor funding of out-of-school children among others, as to find a sustainable solution and transform sector.
According to him, five thematic areas have been identified for discussion “The issue of curriculum, for example, it has become important that the education sector should be increasingly more relevant and the changing role of the teacher being a facilitator rather than the absolute harbinger of knowledge.
“The type of curriculum that will now focus more on skills, and entrepreneurship because we want to enhance employability. As we have been preaching, we don’t want to produce graduates that are looking for government employment,” he said.
The minister stated that the president has approved an institute in Abuja that resembles the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which will serve as a hub where all the top ideas for growing the country will be incubated and released for the various sectors of our economy. According to him, this institute will take off this year.
Also speaking, Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy commended the NUC for developing a new curriculum for Nigerian Universities, saying that it was apt due to the rate of unemployability of graduates in the country.
“We always complain about unemployment, I agree that there is unemployment but the percentage is not as we think. The significant challenge we have in Nigeria is the problem of unemployability, this is the major problem particularly when it comes to sciences, engineering, and technology.
“We need to provide the relevant skills so that they will be able to confront any challenge and can be able to apply for any job globally,” he said.
Pantami further explained that soft skills are most sought after especially in big tech companies such as critical thinking, analytical thinking, collaborative skills, project management, problem-solving, and presentation skills, among others.
“Today if you apply for a job in the global tech giant, they hardly ask you about the university you attended or class of degree but are interested in knowing your hard skills and soft skills this is what they are interested in,” he stressed.
Chief Education, UNICEF, Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan, in her remark said Nigeria is off-track in achieving sustainable development goal 4, saying the pandemic exacerbated the fragility of the country’s education systems which was already struggling with poor access to quality learning and low resilience to shock.
“Additionally, frequent attacks on schools – including the abduction of children, who should always be safe in school – has also resulted in prolonged school closures and is contributing to high rates of out of school children and low learning outcomes,” she said.
The UNICEF Chief Education said the Transforming Education Summit (TES) seeks to renew political commitment to education as a global public good and to galvanise all partners around this common compact for education.
“Summits come and go; the value will be derived by the extent to which we use the momentum it creates to propel key education priorities through collective action and accountability.
“UNICEF and other UN agencies are proud to be working with the Government of Nigeria to deliver on the right to education for every child. We are here to support the preparations for TES in the short term, and we are here to support reimagining education for a better future for all children in the long term,” she stated.
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