Time to halt paper qualification in recruitment By Bello Shehu Shuni

Every century has its own example of educational defining and naming in the world of education. The 20th century structure of educational system was designed purposely to produce personnel who could work in office. This system is outdated today but unfortunately it still persists in the 21st century in Nigeria, a century that has brought whole world together by means of technology revolutionising all aspects of our daily lives.

In most developed nations, most of the works that human beings can do in pre-technology days are now capaciously handled by computers and machines. Nations who have trailed the path to technological advancement and change, in this century have witnessed the proliferation of virtual technological reality such as robotics or artificial intelligence leading to the fact that the style or system of education today particularly in Nigeria must change to replicate modernity.

In this 21st century, education is not exclusive to school only for someone to be knowledgeable he or she doesn’t have to go to school necessarily. In fact, even those that go to school, what they learn from it become outdated.

In this century, technology has undoubtedly made our lives easier, where billions of people now have access and technical ability to come and operate. The internet and Google provide us with constant flow of information laptops, allowing us to make that information on the go, and smart phones enable us to have access to information with other person we know and even some that we don’t know so. So access to education has never been the level it is today.

As the world move into another phase as result of this, learning must be reformed into another phase to enable us change the way we see and approach the world. There is no aspect of professionalism or human endeavour yet unexplored by technology.

In this era, certificate should not be recognised but, skills creativity and ability to apply the knowledge. That should be the measure of competence and qualification. Therefore, dependence on paper qualification and neglect of skills is largely responsible for the myriad problems of certificate racketeering, examination malpractices, fake results, fraudulent – foreign certificate, (K’asaru degree/ masters) corruption, nepotism, favouritism in public job placements, youth unemployment, etc.

Most developed countries are re-emphasising on skills than paper qualification. That is why Nigerian graduates are not only unemployed but unemployable as their skills are largely divorced from labour requirements, because Nigerian institutions has been on verbal activity rather than skills acquisitions and problem solving activities

Most billionaires in the world don’t have a degree yet they are more successful than those with degrees. Bill Gate, the Microsoft guru, did not finish formal education but pursued his dream of simplifying computer to users, a cutting edge technology that only few people understood through his cognitive skill which deals with ideas.

When you rate people with their paper qualification alone, you are bound to hire them like robots who only think and behave within the box. They will not be able to adopt novel approach once you put them out of it.

In fact, school system is not rating students fairly, because it subjected numerous learning style preferences to a single teaching style. It is like a frog and lizard contest.

You won’t be fair to the lizard if you put them in a swimming contest, and you won’t be fair to the frog if you put them in a climbing contest. 

So, even if one has the lowest certificate, it is not a case to condemn his intelligence and abilities, because he may be related to that frog in a climbing contest. He has not been tested in his best abilities.

The Nigerian schools fail to teach students how to learn. They only teach students what to learn and by doing that student failed to effectively learn and that’s why most of them forget what they have been taught. Therefore the 21st century illiterate is not the person who cannot read and write but the one who cannot learn and relearn.

Most graduates in this century are not problem solving oriented they are content memorizing oriented because they are not more relevant to the world of work

If we can rate people by their skill applications comprehension, and motivation, we will have unemployment rate reduced drastically.

Most people might have failed to score good grades or get the best degrees, but if they can be employed and motivated to apply their skills, they will pass the litmus test.

Therefore, in Nigeria context, when we want to get employment, everyone will compete for paper qualification instead of skills and comprehension, and without skills, people will have to keep waiting for the diminishing white collar jobs and more graduates are being produced yearly that why the unemployment bomb has been tickling in every year.

Therefore it is time the competition is on skill acquisition and knowledge application.

Finally, our civil service should be reform by adopting skills in the process of recruitment, if we want Nigeria’s graduates to be marketable in the global economy. Also, our system of education should be reform in the sense that educational institutions should design skills in their curriculum in order to respond to the ever changing face the world at large.

Shuni writes via [email protected]


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