Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has hinted that the country’s new education curriculum was being developed and would focus on skills and entrepreneurship.
Adamu gave the hint while speaking at a one day Transforming Education Summit organised by the National Universities Commission (NUC) on Thursday in Abuja.
The Minister who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono noted that the whole world was now focusing on education because of the central role it plays and that there was need to enhance the employability of graduates in the country.
He noted that the summit which was organised ahead of the global summit in September in New York by the United Nations Secretary, provided opportunity to brainstorm on the many challenges facing Nigeria’s education sector such as poor funding, out-of-school children among others, as to find sustainable solutions and transform the 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 absolute harbinger of knowledge.
“The type of curriculum that will now focus more on skills, entrepreneurship but 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 would serve as a hub where all the top ideas of growing the country would be incubated and released for various sector of our economy. He disclosed that the institute would take off within the year.
Also speaking, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami commended the NUC for developing a new curriculum for Nigerian Universities, saying 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 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 mostly sought after especially in big tech companies such as critical thinking, analytical thinking, collaborative skills, project management, problem solving, 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 Officer, UNICEF, Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan, in her remark said,
Nigeria was off-track in achieving the 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 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 Chief Education Officer 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; its 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 said.