Of certifications and Nigeria’s problem of unemployable graduates

by | Jul 21, 2016

Microsoft wants more data scientists on the job market, Microsoft launches  a series of classes in data science through edX.org, the nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT.

Google wants people to learn programming for their Android platform, Google collaborates with Udacity, launches Google Android Basics Nanodegree class for people with no experience in programming at all.

Nigerian Organisations want employable and suitable graduates, what is expected of these organizations? It is important for us to note that the end product of these courses are for the organisations to have a pool of resources in terms of skilled personnel that can further develop their businesses which definitely has a positive bearing on the economy.

There is a lot of debate going on, on how skilled and employable Nigerian graduates are and I must confess, it is not looking too good.

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It has been said that  chief among the factors to blame for unemployment is because we lack appropriate skills sets.  And we lack these skills because our universities and their curriculum have not been updated in years.

We need to acknowledge the fact that our educational system is rusty, and we cannot expect  organisations to take the risks of employing unemployable graduates the system has spat out. The logical question should be, what are organisations doing about it?

Google has announced the launch of its globally recognised job-oriented Associate Android Developer Certification—a performance-based exam that will help successful candidates to get an entry-level Android Developer jobs in the Industry.

The case for nationally recognised certifications

It is high time we started using technology to its full potential. As Don Knezek, the CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education, rightly said, To have education without regard to technology is to consider medical profession without technology.

Technology should have helped teachers move beyond text-based blackboard teaching. We should have grown beyond the stage of  contained and restricted computer class and computer teachers ( I vividly recall my computer classes were theory-based with drawings of computers in our textbooks). We should have started using technology as a learning tool to change the face of education generally.

Changing the face of education

The beauty of this, is that we no longer have to use ‘should have” when talking about these issues because teachers have grown beyond our lecturers stuck in the classrooms, teachers have grown way past your HOD or the Dean of your department. Giant tech corporations are stepping up to the challenge of making technology a seamless aspect of education.

Organisations can design courses that offer skills that lack resources in traditional education despite high demand from employers (coding and social media marketing are common examples). All you have to do is invest in your probable workforce,  gradually and subtly entrenching technology in the everyday lives of the upcoming working force.

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We could, and we can, easily turn to these courses already launched by tech giants, but they were not built for us. What works in the West, no matter how brilliant it is, might prove limited and unreasonable when imported here because our dynamics are different. And this is why I must commend Interswitch. Nigeria is in the unshakable era of e-payment, what better happens than to build industry suitable e-payment professionals? And that is what they have done with their new Payment Certification programme.

Just Imagine if commercial giants in Nigeria such as Dangote cement, Zenith Bank Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc rolled out certification courses which they developed based on their years of experience on surviving in the Nigerian market in partnership with Nigerian universities on online platforms. I see experience, skill, knowledge merging up to make  formidable courses.

“We are working on an ICT University which will be the first in Africa. It will train high calibre personnel that will service the ICT industry”.

When I heard this statement made by the minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, my first reaction was to pump my fists in the air and smile. But on a closer look, I sobered up when I sighted “high caliber personnel” I really do not know what that means,

However, I keep thinking, why can’t we test run with online courses first? Handpick the finest industry and academic professionals instead of waiting for the university to come up. We can do this! An astounding majority of our youths are online anyway whiling away time on social media platforms. It is not  like we have to persuade them to get there. They are already on the platform, waiting for you to start something and show some faith. And by the way, data isn’t an issue anymore.

If I were to determine the future of education certification, I’d put it half and half into the hands of universities and organisations. Let us strike a balance between theory and practical, between guesses and the real actual life.

Developing the modules shouldn’t be an issue either. Organisations have become experts at recruiting and singling out potential money makers from the thousands that apply to establishments on a yearly bases. Make no mistake, there is a lot of benefit for these organisations too, they have the opportunity to plant specific ideas of their company’s image and how they would like to be perceived.

Let us take this singular step, and watch Nigerian graduates excel beyond your wildest imagination.

Photo Credit: Derek Mindler via Compfight cc

Oyinkansola Sadiq-Mabeko
Oyinkansola Sadiq-Mabeko

Writer at Techpoint | Oyinkansola is a content creator, a digital media enthusiast, a blogger and a lover of everything beautiful! Join her as she explores life through her articles!

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