Toyin Falola, a history professor at the University of Texas, says vocational skills should become degree courses in Nigerian universities.
Falola said this while delivering the seventh convocation lecture of the Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU), Akungba Akoko, Ondo state on Thursday.
He said in many advanced countries in the world, skills like photography, fashion designing, shoemaking, graphic design and printing were already being taught as vocationally oriented degree courses.
“Moreover, it is high time some of these skills are designed into degree courses. This is one viable way of exploring alternative degree formats,” he said.
“It is, therefore, a good idea if this is replicated in Nigerian universities. Graduates can not only become gainful self-employed through these skills, they can also become employers of labour.”
Falola also urged Nigerian universities administrators to do more in the area of funding.
He said: “Proprietors of Nigerian public and private universities—federal government, state governments, and individuals— should also be committed to the funding of university education. They must realize that this education is a lifetime project and its benefits are not exhaustive.”
He advised that a data bank of the unemployed youths in Nigeria should be built, saying it “will use computer models and algorithms to analyse the problems of unemployment among the indices of age, locations, levels of education, skills people are capable of, gender, and other factors?
“This way, the data bank makes it possible to build microscopic and micro-perspective programs for youths according to their gender, age, location, needs, and level of education. Rather than have empowerment programs that are broadly conceived for an audience whose needs are by no means uniform, a data bank will policymakers to have more detailed and result-oriented approach to planning.”
The lecture was entitled ‘Nigerian Universities and Youth Empowerment’.