LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA )- More than 85 percent of Nigeria’s graduates have no digital skills, a survey by an online education technology outfit has shown.
The outcome of the survey, according to Osita Oparaugo, the chief executive officer of the outfit, shows that more than 100 million young people are not prepared to take up good job opportunities that require such modern skills.
“There is an overwhelming digital skills gap that has been linked to the high unemployment rate in Nigeria.
“The lack of digital skills has been named as a major reason why many graduates produced yearly from the country’s tertiary institutions are unable to secure employment in the labour market,” he pointed out in a statement in Lagos.
To buttress the point, Mr. Oparaugo said that a 2023 survey conducted by GetBundi Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Digital Skill Education Technology Company involving 100 NYSC members showed that only 19 of them had any form of digital skill.
“Even that skill was mostly Microsoft Excel and basic knowledge.
“All of the seven that had basic knowledge of programming, machine learning and data science studied outside Nigeria – five in the UK, one in the United States and one in Malaysia.
“Most of them are active on social media as 89 have active Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and 11 have LinkedIn accounts.
“However, they have little or no knowledge of any digital skills. About 15 carry one form of science-based field certificate or the other but have no practical knowledge when tested in their areas of study.
“This situation, at a time when digital skills rule the world, is worrisome, though the young people are not entirely to blame.
“The education system takes a huge chunk of the blame. The education system has often been criticised, and rightly, for not being updated with the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
“The curriculum used in many Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions is outdated and does not adequately cover the practical aspect of relevant digital skills.
“Practical digital skills that would better prepare the youths for jobs and self-employment are all lacking in the current education system.”
He argued that government had recognised the need to address this issue and took steps to promote digital literacy and skill development among youths.
“Some of the efforts include initiatives such as coding boot camps, online training platforms, partnerships with technology companies, and entrepreneurship programs that focus on digital innovation, he said.
“These initiatives aim to provide Nigerian youths with opportunities to learn and apply digital skills, thereby increasing their employability and entrepreneurial prospects,” he added.
He noted, however, that addressing the issue required collaboration.
“It requires a collaborative effort among government, educational institutions, private sector organisations and individuals to provide accessible and relevant digital skills training to Nigerian youths.
“Addressing the digital skills gap among youth graduates requires a multi-pronged approach.
“In this regard, Getbundi has articulated some strategies that can be implemented and one of them is to update educational curriculum in secondary and tertiary institutions.
“Most schools use outdated and irrelevant curriculum to teach students, which is devoid of digital skills.
“To equip these youths for the digital economy, it is pertinent that the curriculum is updated with relevant skills such as coding, data analysis, and cybersecurity, among others.
“We must also promote digital literacy programmes that target individuals who are already in the workforce or have limited educational opportunities,” his statement read in part.