Unemployment: KWASU VC advocates suitable skills in varsities

Going by the recent figures of 21.7 million released by the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) as unemployed Nigerians, the Vice Chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. Muhammed Mustapha, SAN, has urged universities in the country to introduce job-enabling skills that would be complimentary to graduates of different disciplines.

Mustapha, one of the youngest VCs said this would help the students to be self-reliant after graduation, rather than having first class students who have no additional job-enabling skills.

He said KWASU, in her efforts to bridge the nation’s unemployment challenges,made it a duty to produce graduates  that could be readily engaged in one job-enabling skills/trade or the other before and after graduation.

The VC,who led the management team of the institution on a working visit to some select government agencies in Abuja to mobilise support for the university, told newsmen that KWASU, which already has an existing centre for entrepreneurship would soon roll out academic programmes to ensure  its students were exposed to state-of-the-art skills in computing and at the same time understand at least one foreign language to prepare them for the 21st century challenges.

Mustapha who is the former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) said: “Our Institution is a university of community development and entrepreneurship. I like the fact that you appreciate what we are doing with entrepreneurship; that centre is being rejigged and rejuvenated.

“It is now called the centre for vocational, technical, and entrepreneurship because we don’t want to teach entrepreneurship just in theory. We get our students involved in vocational things and technical aspects.

“Already, we encourage our students to engage different entrepreneur skills, acquire, hold, and consider all certificates important. It does not make any sense if you are a first-class student and you are looking for a job. And I mean First class in any programme.”

On grooming the university’s students to be self-reliant instead of job seekers after graduation, Akanbi said KWASU, renowned for its entrepreneurial prowess, has a programme that makes it mandatory for every student to own a business.

“You will see students engage in things like making face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers, some are into tailoring, some are into carpentry, some are into what I call mechanical automobile repair and things like that. And in the past, the CAC has given awards to our students because we are talking of every year, almost 2,000 students registering with the CAC because when you come in, it is expected that it is not going to be only a classroom thing,” the VC said.

Akanbi, who assumed office 1st April 2020, expressed his readiness to reposition the university for better performance.

“My plan is to move KWASU to a lofty height better than I found it, and to achieve this broad mandate, I intend to one; ensure a conducive learning environment. I also intend to pursue quality-based research. One of the things we want to encourage is that research should not just be for research’s sake, we don’t want our research work to end up on the shelves. Our research would be geared towards finding solutions to contemporary challenges,” Akanbi further  said.

The KWASU VC further expressed the institution’s readiness to ensure its students participate more actively in the nation’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector.

He said the the university would leverage on the recently amended Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), to ensure the institution’s students float more businesses.

“Every student that gets admitted into KWASU is expected to start a business, a registered business. 

“President Buhari just assented to the new CAMA after about 30 years and that had helped the quality of the ease of doing business. KWASU has started certain policies that this new CAMA is going to help to ensure that our students register a business enterprise, like a trade which you will register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) so that what we teach you in-class you are able to start it while in school.

“You will see students engaged in things such as making face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers. Some are into tailoring, some are into carpentry, some are into what I call mechanical automobile repair and things like that,” the VC said.

“I have just been reminded that in the past, the CAC has given awards to our students because we are talking of every year almost 2,000 students registering with the CAC, because when you come in it is expected that it is not going to be only a classroom thing; so we take you through some technical, some provisional, some pure business enterprises,” he added.

The VC said the motive behind the university’s entrepreneurship scheme is to raise an army of graduates who were job creators instead of those that would be in need of employment after graduation.

“The plan is that we don’t want students who will graduate and go and meet their parents that they are looking for a job. 

“We want a wealth creator, we are not looking for students who just want to work in government sector but students who can start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs in their own rights,”