Nigerian universities’ curricula must be reviewed in line with global labour needs ― Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday in Osogbo, Osun State capital, said the curricula and teaching methods of Nigerian universities must be reviewed in tandem with the global labour needs.

He maintained that: “The decline in the quality of scholarship and academic output, and of the graduates we cast into the market place from our institutions provides the clearest confirmation that our system of tertiary education is severely and dangerously lacking in the capabilities.”

Speaking at 1st Tunde Ponnle Annual Lecture titled “Building aTruly 21st Century University: A Task Beyond Government”, Gbajabiamila said: “Quality education in the knowledge economy must empower the individual to operate effectively in multiple fields to ask hard questions and challenge status quo”.

According to him: “We can only achieve this by reviewing our curricular and teaching methods with a view to situating our practices in the context of global labour needs. We require a programme of aggressive and sustained investments in education.”

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While contending that government alone cannot shoulder the responsibilities of providing qualitative tertiary education in the 21st century, Gbajabiamila said: “The future of tertiary education in Nigeria must include a thorough consideration of the ways and means of closer collaboration between government and the society whose interest these institutions of higher learning ultimately serve”.

He continued: “Today many of the skills that guaranteed employment and a healthy income for the previous generation have been made redundant by advances in technology. This generation will not only be competing with one another for opportunities, but they will also be competing in the global market place, against students from all over the world, and against technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that are increasingly able to perform a lot of functions.

“Most national policy discussions of higher education focus on questions of structure and financing. Understandably so, because the problems in this regard are many and unresolved. However, there are important issues of curriculum, teaching methods, assessment and fairness that should engage our minds too, and be part of any reform consideration”, Gbajabiamila stated.

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