Mohammed Munirat Nasir, Gusau
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, says that for Nigeria to attain sustainable development propelled by knowledge, the country’s education curriculum must be changed to fit the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Sanusi gave the advice while speaking as the chairman at the pre convocation lecture of the first convocation ceremony of the Federal University Gusau (FUGUS) in Gusau, Zamfara State.
He said Nigeria’s current curriculum is not capable of meeting the demand in this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“You cannot have the same curriculum and be doing the same thing over and over. If it is not working you have to tear the book and start again,” he said.
Sanusi made clear that he has been very critical of the curriculum in Nigerian universities, including the language of instruction.
“Why is it that our education system must be in the English language. Why is it possible to be a Medical Doctor studying in Chinese, French and Malay but you cannot be a Medical Doctor studying in Hausa,” he asked?
Sanusi said the world has become dynamic hence the need for the country’s education curriculum to be redefined towards modern trends.
“Even in Europe, almost half of high-level jobs are going to disappear. Right now robots are being trained to write legal contracts and in 20 years, if you are a lawyer, you may need to be able to operate robots to have a job,” he said.
Sanusi lamented that Nigeria is the only country where students come out of the universities with Bsc Agriculture Science or Agronomy and they will be moving around with their CVs looking for jobs in the banking system.
“In Kenya today, IT coding is compulsory for every primary school pupil. How many primary, secondary or university students in Nigeria are learning how to code,” he asked.
The Emir called for a dialogue between academia and the political leadership and also challenged the universities to begin to set a development agenda for the country.
“Why is it that we have so many people with degrees moving around with their degrees but cannot be absorbed by the economy, this shows that there is a fundamental disconnect between the education we give our students and the developmental needs of the country economy,” he said.
He tasked the universities to be self-critical to be able to produce the kind of manpower they think will lead the country to development.
Earlier, the guest speaker, Dr Usman Bugaje, whose paper was titled ‘The role of the university in national development: Finding the nexus between knowledge and governance,’ said in the competitive environment of the 21st century, knowledge is the greatest capital and the only way to survive and thrive.
Bugaje, who is the Convener of the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), said at the moment the link is dangerously weak and puts the country’s future in jeopardy.
He lamented that the country’s political culture is not only driven by ignorance but it is also anti-knowledge.
“We have got to salvage our future by finding ways to make our universities become not only relevant but at the centre of our development,” he said.