NESG Holds Pre NES29 Summit Webinar on Refocusing Nigeria's Education System for Workforce Readiness

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Posted Tue, Oct 3, 2023 10:18 AM

NESG Holds Pre NES29 Summit Webinar on Refocusing Nigeria's Education System for Workforce Readiness

According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated 85 million jobs may be displaced by 2025 due to a shift in the division of labour from humans to machines. However, 97 million more jobs may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. The Forum estimates that there are top 10 skills required to thrive in workplaces in the future. These are categorised into problem-solving, self-management, working with people, technology use and development (World Economic Forum, 2020). In 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that approximately 62.9% of the Nigerian population (i.e. 133 million people) live in multidimensional poverty. The Statistics also showed that 72% of people living in rural Nigeria are poor, while 42% of their counterparts in the urban areas are poor. For a country with a predominantly youth population, where 53.4% of its youth population is unemployed, it behoves us to hold conversations and review possible root causes of youth unemployment in Nigeria.

It is on this premise that the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) on Friday, September 29th, 2023, held a pre-29th Nigerian Economic Summit (#NES29) webinar with the theme "Refocusing Education for Workforce Readiness."

While delivering the welcome remarks, Chair, Technical Sub-Committee, #NES29, Mrs Ozofu Ogiemudia, said that Nigeria has a predominantly youthful population and that up to 53.4% are employed, which partly explains the high incidence of poverty in the country, which is estimated at 62.9% or 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty in Nigeria. She noted that the 2018 graduate skills ranking by the World Economic Forum (WEF) put Nigeria at 135th out of 140 countries, implying that most Nigerian graduates need the requisite skills, experience, and knowledge to be gainfully employed. She noted that WEF also estimates that 85 million jobs may be displaced by 2025 due to the shift in the division of labour between men and machines. However, 97 million more jobs may emerge that are more adapted to the new division label between humans, machines and algorithms.

During the panel session, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), Professor Ismail Junaidu, who Dr Chima Egbujuo represented, said that there is no imperfect curriculum because they are usually designed to meet the specific needs of a society at particular times, and it is dynamic and expected to influence the society, as much as the society influences the curriculum. He noted that we have made significant progress, particularly in the design of curriculums to meet societal needs to prepare learners to fit in and make adequate contributions to the development of society. He noted that the NERDC is keen on providing opportunities for learners and recipients to cope with the world's dynamism. He pointed out that the curriculum design has shifted to developing learners with transferable skills that will enable them to acquire knowledge from different areas and apply it in other contexts. 

Head of Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs Eyitayo Ozavize Salami, said that the Nigerian curriculum is correct, but the challenges centre around implementation. She noted that part of the problems they experienced in Edo state was the issue of migration, which they were able to tie to an inability of the education system to prepare the youths for higher education in the area of skills education to make a living for themselves. She noted that the state was able to leverage technology and prioritise the collection and use of data in making decisions that relate to education at all levels in the state. She revealed that with the EdoBest program, they standardised educational content through scripted lessons and digitalised content, with the government providing tablets for primary education teachers. 

Executive Director of Skills Development Practice, Dr Detoun Ogwo, said that internships are routes organisations can explore, as they can help human resources achieve their goals of building their organisations and making the world a better place. She said that internships help create a link between the education system and enterprises and can significantly help prepare students for work. She urged the Nigerian educational system to adopt internship and externship models to help students scale up practical experience and be better prepared to join the workforce and contribute to Nigeria's growth and development. She reiterated the need for a public-private partnership model to aid internships and foster a connection between the educational system and the workforce.

Group Managing Director, NewGlobe, Dr Akin-Olusoji Akinyele, stated that NewGlobe is providing life-changing education opportunities to the underserved by targeting those outside the web of privilege and that they do this by forming partnerships that ensure the implementation of time-tested educational reforms and interventions with subnationals including Lagos, Edo, Kwara and Bayelsa which attends to about 1 million children and nearly 2 million children are attended to through partnerships with national governments of Rwanda, Liberia, Kenya and India. He noted that the partnerships have shown that there are modern educational interventions that can deliver results at speed and scale. 

The 29th Nigerian Economic Summit, with the theme 'Pathways for Sustainable Economic Transformation and Inclusion', is scheduled for the 23rd and 24th of October, 2023, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja. In light of the urgency of translating economic growth into improved and sustainable living standards for all citizens, this year's summit theme hints at Nigeria's potential for sustainable development, leveraging innovative policies, robust institutions, strategic infrastructural investments, and human capital development.

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