Unemployment which has taking a toll in Nigeria over the years is a general phenomenon of joblessness in an economy. Nigeria is a country that has been able to manage epidemics and other terrible crisis. It is time she managed the challenges of unemployment and empower youths for growth in the future.
The rate of unemployed youths which is becoming alarming seems not to create much concern to the Elites. The many challenges faced in Nigeria, has been attributed to inadequate employment premised on research. Experience is often said to be the best teacher, as Nigeria is gradually deviating from the usual norm of promoting certificate oriented education in her citizens. This is hinged on the high increase in enrollment ratio in schools and high demand for higher academic qualifications (certificates). The Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) now seek polices commensurate to the admission demand of many Nigerian youths as it (JAMB) comes with streams of policies annually.
The quest for higher academic qualifications is no doubt meant to obtain certificate in order to earn ‘white collar’ jobs so as to give back to their family and society. Unemployment rate is enough to enable Nigerians learn not only see education from the angle of “investment” but “consumption” as much premium is placed on education as investment. Parents now estimate their costs on educating (schooling) their children as against returns on investment on education through attractive employment, either from the government or private and multinational companies. So many youths are yet to find their way out of this less working ideology as some still finds it difficult to inter-mingle their actions into vocational jobs premise on the high cost incurred on western education.
Employment generation should go beyond the its use to swindle the youth during political parties elections where promises of credit grants as nominal capital for aspiring entrepreneurs are made.
Although the Nigerian government has established streams of policies and organizations as alternatives to remedy the menace of unemployment in the country, one of the schemes is the “Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development” training by the National Youth Service Corps, the question arises “has it been effectively managed and supervised?”. Many corps members seem to see it as a waste of their time while some see it as a means of acquiring additional certification and only a few key into it in order get hold of the intended vocational skills to be self-reliance.
Many students in higher institutions of learning crave this one year ‘service to father’s land’ through NYSC but in actual fact they only want to earn a living with the stipend been paid by government (allowee) before the jobless pangs come. This menace has made innocent graduates falls victims of scam from fraudulent employers while downgrading bachelor degree and HND holders to the post of security guards, sales representatives, street marketers (hawkers) in the hands of business moguls irrespective of their classes of degrees and currently making youths stay glued to social medias, posting pornographic and reading all sorts of instigating text from the political showground. This has led to their use by unscrupulous politicians as thugs and protesters in a bid to offer them stipends and false promises to earn a living.
These employment challenges have raised the academic qualification bar such that Masters and Ph.D degrees are highly demanded. This is good in terms as it will challenge young people but then it will affect those who do not have adequate funding and it also makes undergraduate admission very competitive. Unemployment challenges seem not to be paving way for brilliant and intelligent individuals to contribute their best to various private and public establishments as a result of recruitment tribalism and nepotism.
There is no doubting the fact that unemployment has contributed to the slow rate of development in the country with some form of corruption, increase in crime rate, prostitution, terrorism, poverty, rural-urban migration among others in Nigeria. However, there are ways in which they can be managed which may include the need for the government to review recruitment policies and if possible reduce the age of civil servants retirement from 35 to 20years to create room for young graduates in the system. It is also important for interested individuals to be given the enabling environment and credit grants with low interest rate and convenient payback duration to initiate businesses. The strengthening of service monitoring team towards ensuring effective management of established schemes on youth empowerment is necessary. Stakeholders and employers of labour should pay less emphasis on certificates and embrace quality assurance through general test and measurement. Also, there is the need for government to set up a working quality assurance mechanism from lower level of education in order to control the inflow of unmerited students in higher institutions of learning, thereby sinking the percentage of unemployed graduate citizens.
In all, potential employees and young graduates should habitually perceive education from the consumption angle, directing all knowledge acquired into productive and functional activities which will amount to lasting investment at the long run.
By: AKINFOLARIN AKINWALE V.