Moses Christian

uk REVAMPING TERTIARY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA â The asset of a nation is not in the abundance of its resources but in the skills of its peopleâ . This quotation by a Ghanaian public speaker, Mensal Otabil, underscore s the reason for the accelerated advancement of some Asia countries- China and J apan today are experiencing economic boom not because of their natural resources (which do not abound) but because they had learnt to invest and utilize the min ds and skills of the citizens. Several years ago, larger quarter of the labour f orce of China and Japan was thrown into the U.S, England, Germany and to some p arts of the Europe to acquire skills and craftsmanship from the then world econo mic leading countries. With convocational schools and technical institutions est ablished in their countries, the Chinese and Japanese applied their skills and p ractical knowledge in their production system which facilitated the economy of t hese two countries. Today China and Japan are skyrocketing at the pace no one co uld fathom even in the face of global economy recessions. Besides, one of the linchpin strategies that aided the economic boom of the United States in the past few decades, is its work â and- school system of educat ion that enables income-students to acquaint themselves with the experience and the demand of the labour market while schooling. Conversely, socio-economic advancement had and itâ s still eluding Africa not just because it does not have sound management of resources and organization bu t also because its culture is built on principles that do not encourage entrepre neurship and human resources development. Precisely with a close look at Nigeria, it is apparent that our system of educat ion never encouraged technical know-how and practical knowledge. Even the polyte chnics that were established for this purpose are basically ill-equipped. The le cturers in the universities keep dishing the same old knowledge for decades with out new researches, pioneering techniques and new knowledge needed to groom the students for the challenges outside the universities. Therefore ironically, our system contributes to the failure of graduates after living the four walls of th e institutions- rather than helping them build their chosen careers, it leaves t hem hapless and rather than giving them education, it gives them certificates. Y et the government shoulders the blame on the unemployed and clamours for self-em ployment when our system does not spur such. Nigeria needs a revamped education system that gives impetus to a renewed invest ment in basic research, encourages income-earning studentship and induces advanc ed 21st century skills and market informed workforce. Although these commitments to education require resources and new reforms, they will generate the pillars of a more competitive economy that will take advantage of the marketplaceâ s opportun ities and produce a highly educated and skilled workforce that will be the key n ot only to individual opportunity, but to the overall success of our economy as well. Therefore, until the government enacts policy that would enable the tertiary sys tem to discover the techniques that would help blend education with works- the w ork- and-school system, spur adequate research and practicalities that expose st udents to demands of the labour market in their field of study, we may continue to produce dependent generations. The experience of the labour market and that o f the acquired university education are two different ball games, it is the comb o ability that guarantees success in the economically competitive world. The end result of education is empowerment because it breeds people that are useful and productive not just to their families but also to the entire society. Where thi s is not the case, education becomes wasteful years of inconsequentiality. 300L, Department of English, OAU, Ile-Ife