The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, has reiterated that the development of an Entrepreneurship Education programme in the Nigerian University System (NUS) would help prepare students to be fit-for-purpose in the labour market.
He stated this when the commission in partnership with the British Council (BC) kick-started a two-day brainstorming session with Directors of Entrepreneurship Centers of Nigerian universities, aimed at achieving a more productive university education system. He envisaged that entrepreneurship education delivery has the capacity to deliver the required momentum.
Prof. Rasheed, explained that entrepreneurship must be embedded in the curriculum of all programmes thought in Nigerian universities, adding that entrepreneurship has the potential to unlock the hidden potential in students, helping them identify skills that could prepare them for the labour market.
According to him, the meeting was fallout of an earlier one with the Centre Directors organized by the Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (DSDE) of the NUC in November 2021.
He recalled that after deliberations by participants at the event, a communiqué was issued on certain key resolutions.
The NUC scribe said the decision of stakeholders through the communiqué to put in place an operational guideline for the effective running of the Entrepreneurship Development Centers (EDCs) in the various universities was novel and imperative in the nation’s quest to produce employable graduates.
He stated that the commission would continue to encourage ideas; innovations and suggestions that not only make the universities truly entrepreneurial but also jump-start the national economy towards global competitiveness.
The executive secretary stated that the commission had continued to discharge its statutory responsibilities effectively of overseeing the university education system in Nigeria, in a bid to ensure the orderly development of a well coordinated and productive university system. The commission had also embarked on a series of reforms aimed at revitalizing University Education.
These, according to him, included: curriculum re-engineering, review of instruments of quality assurance, strengthening of the EDCs, guidelines for Open and Distance Learning (ODL), Transnational Education (TNE), and re-invention of Internationalization portfolios in order to realign the NUS with global best practices.
Rasheed also highlighted that the commission had continued to ensure the entrenchment of quality teaching and learning in the university system through its developed roadmap for quality assurance activities which included: Verification of new Programmes to ensure adequate human and material resources availability; Programme-Based Accreditation for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, to ensure they meet the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) as well as Inspection and Monitoring of activities in the Universities for the sustainability of standards.
Others include the Evaluation of Students Support Facilities and Services in Nigerian universities; approval of the establishment of Open and Distance Learning Centers to further widen access to university education; ensuring the Nigerian University System continues to concentrate on its mandate and the re-constitution of a Committee on Degree mills.
He tasked the participants to actively engage in robust discussions during the workshop technical sessions and to ensure that the knowledge gained is put to good use for the benefit of their respective institutions, and the NUS at large.
In his presentation, the Acting Director, DSDE, Mallam Ashafa Ladan, stated that the meeting would have been held earlier but for the exigency of duty coupled with the prolonged ASUU strike, which stalled many activities of the Commission in particular and the University System in general.
He noted that there had been a growing need for Entrepreneurship Education delivery in the university system and mindful of the prevailing enterprise challenges confronting the Higher Education Space NUC felt the need to engage experts in order to bridge the skill gap and ensure linkages between industries and the universities.
The essence, he said, was to tackle educational-related challenges of economic underdevelopment such as the high rate of unemployed graduates, the poor rate of skilled graduates, and the mentality of waiting for white-collar jobs.
He further informed the participants that there was a need to re-orientate students, teachers as well as higher institutions to become innovative, skillful, and entrepreneurial for self-reliance and sustainability.
He noted that since the discovery that the depressed quality of graduates, poor skills development, and entrepreneurial challenges were key issues challenging the Nigerian University System; it became imperative for the Commission to establish the Directorate of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (DSDE).
He further told the gathering that university administrators and stakeholders who drive entrepreneurship education for national development would often be invited by the Commission to meet and attend to issues relating to the framework and operations of entrepreneurship centers.