Lack of digital skills making graduates unemployable

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) has identified lack of digital skills and digital creativity as factors responsible for the growing army of unemployable university graduates.

NCS President, Prof David Adewunmi, who spoke at the 6th Annual Information Technology Development Programme at the Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, said information communication technology (ICT) should be integrated into school curriculum form primary school through the university.

The two-day forum was organized by the Ogun State Chapter of the NCS and had IT Diversity Perspectives For Global Impact, as its theme. It attracted stakeholders in the public, private and academic sectors well as software innovators from 12 institutions across the country.

Represented by the immediate past chairman, Lagos Chapter, NCS, Dr Rogba Adeoye Prof Adewumi said today's graduates have become unemployable owing to a number of factors including the fact that Nigerian youths are not enhanced with digital skills and the fact that they are not digitally creative enough to create data for upload, rather they download data a lot.

He argued that Nigerian youths need to think of how to make the country better through data creation to fight corruption and economic challenges.

"This is an IT age and technology is catching up on all of us. Nigeria needs more data but today's youths are more interested in uploading and downloading data rather than contribute meaningfully to data upload. Lots need to be done to bring data to our community. IT world is dynamic and we need to have an open mind for change,” he said.

Meanwhile, CEO, Commit Technology and Consult Limited, Dr Niran Oyekale described digital illiteracy as a gap that needs to be covered before it eats deep into the system.

According to him, the assumption that everyone is digitally literate has led to people going out of their way to pick bits and pieces, which have created gaps in the ways computers are used.

He said:  "Until an individual identifies the gap and work towards closing it that is when we can take the benefit that ICT has to offer.

"In the last three years, I put to test 75,000 young Nigerians across the country in various fields, only five people passed. Even the best and first class graduate in computer science failed the basic computer competency test. This has affected the basic value chain".

He stated further that there was need for Nigeria to re-think education in the sense of overhauling the basic school curriculum, so that Nigeria can move forward."Nigeria needs an intervention through the IC3 spark, which could also be a fire brigade approach to equip students from the fundamentals. How many teachers are computer compliant? It is a worrisome thing and if we don't get it right now, it may be difficult to forge ahead".

Citizenship Manager for Microsoft Nigeria, Olusola Amusan, also said Microsoft is trying to empower individuals and organisations to increase their productivity, improve employability and connect more people, which is like fighting the menace of unemployment.

He said: “We are building an ecosystem of employers and the academia. What we do t Microsoft is that we are connecting people. We have a programme that is like the conveyor belt: the aiki.ng, which means work. We run this project with our implementing partner, the Future Project. Over a thousand courses are placed online to empower themselves, which prepare them for the work space.” 

Vice Chancellor, The Bells University of Technology, Prof. Adebayo Adeyemi tasked organisations to expose students to international exhibitions and not abandon them after the national appearance.

According to him, the world has gone digital and Nigeria should not be left out of the digital race.

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