THE National Universities Commission (NUC) has said it will soon establish a new Directorate of Skills Development in line with the desire to close the skill gaps in the country.
Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, made this known in Abuja when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), led by Dr Tayo Aduloju.
He said the creation of the new directorate would require inputs of NESG, which had been a strategic partner with NUC, saying the commission would continue to ensure synergy between universities and the private sector for meaningful industrial growth development to take place in Nigeria.
He noted that the Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES); under the Directorate of Academic Planning; is one of the key areas of collaboration between the private sector and universities.
Rasheed acknowledged that the group had been the major recipient of graduates from the nation’s higher institutions and is also contributing meaningfully to the Nigerian university system by way of creating wealth and improved quality of life for graduates.
He admitted that the Nigerian universities had recently been suffering from low quality of graduates because a lot of the best brains left the country to seek greener pastures in foreign countries like China and India.
“Those countries are doing well because the private sector is; encouraged to train students on skills development by their government, he said.
He identified some of the challenges bedeviling education in Nigeria to include insecurity, poor infrastructure and over-politicisation. According to him, these are the major reasons for absence of foreign students in Nigeria universities.
He, however, assured the delegation that the commission was; not resting on its oars concerning the quality of students in the nation universities; adding that emphasis should be more on practicals in order to bridge the skill gaps.
Professor Rasheed insisted that it is easier for graduates with practical skills to be employed; especially when this would save private organisations huge cost in training the employees.
Dr Tayo Aduloju, who led the team, earlier in his remarks; told the NUC executive secretary that NESG being a private sector body; would be willing to collaborate with the commission; especially in the area of training students of higher institutions on skills development.
One of the directors of NESG, Dr Doyin Salami in his contribution; said the group found NUC as a strategic partner in its public-private sector policy; adding that the target of the collaboration was to make the nation’s university graduates employable.