WHY YOU NEED MORE THAN AN ACADEMIC DEGREE
Everistus Onwuzurike: mass comm graduate, social media activist, freelance journalist with published articles in the nationals speaks up
In our today’s Nigeria, most people to a larger extent value the advantages that come with possessing a Bachelor’s degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in one’s name, forgetting that the value of a thing depends majorly on what that thing will bring forth because your output determines your value in the society. It is indeed good news that the quest for higher education in Nigeria is quite increasing with the large amount of JAMB candidates enrolling for the entrance exam yearly.
But one question that rarely comes to the mind is that, in this day Nigeria is it all about the educational qualification alone? One goes to the university, spend a minimum of 4 to 5 years after which one answers the one year mandatory call to serve the country. Despite all these hurdles crossed, there is no employment to go round in the country to compliment the effort of the graduate, or compensate the parents for a job well done.
Parents toil day and night to be able to cater for their children and send them to school, most deny themselves good things of life for their children to get the best, the poorer ones even go as far as securing loans from banks and relatives with their few landed properties as collateral with the undying hope that once their children graduate from school, he/she would get a good job in an organization and pay up all the necessary accumulated debts. In some scenarios this work as planned while in the other, it fails.
Looking at the escapades, it would not be a soothsaying that every youth needs to have more than just a certificate or degree to pave headway.
Earning a bachelor’s degree is a great feat because it opens up numerous career opportunities. Graduates can work in media houses as journalists, in hospitals as doctors, in telecommunications companies as marketing experts and many more.
But in addition to this, a Certificate coupled with good handwork experience is a fantastic recipe towards attaining greater success. Little wonder the federal government through the ministry of education decided to add subjects in the trade category such as Painting and Decorating, Photography, Salesmanship, Plumbing and Pipe Fitting, cosmetology, dyeing and bleaching, woodwork and Upholstery.
These subjects are added in a bid to acquaint the students with some handy work experience thereby exposing them to the world of trade and not just the educational hemisphere.
One major misconception that students have about school is that, school is meant to make you get a job not knowing that School is meant to empower and enlighten.
Looking at the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme of the NYSC popularly called SAED, one would see that it is another program carefully designed by the management in and after camp to equip the corps members with relevant skills to help them stand out in the labor market. The program boasts to have trained over 1,600 full-time entrepreneurs, managing businesses with varying degrees of success across the country.
Skills acquired would help develop spirit of reliance amongst youths in the country.
This mentality of having to just acquire a degree needs to be looked into strategically, let students understand wholeheartedly that they are sent to school to help solve problems in their communities and society at large. The question shouldn’t be “what do you want to become in future?” rather it should be “What problem in the society do you want to offer solution to?” With this, a Bachelor’s degree would act as a great strengthener.
University Graduates should learn not to settle for just white collar jobs or civil service jobs alone. The federal Government has decided that 370,000 youths would be taken through vocational training and skills acquisition, during this process the beneficiaries would be paid while doing so;
On the contrary the ambition of wanting to be a banker, Doctor, Engineer or even a scientist is not been disputed but gainful employment after graduation is not a guarantee any more in our present day Nigeria.
Few years back, it was alleged that university graduates, Master degree holders and even PhD holders applied for the position of drivers at Dangote’s company. If these set of people have developed a tangible skill, would they have applied for such positions? Presently, the downturn of the country’s economy can only be relieved by those who have skills, especially in production of goods and services.
Sydney J. Harris once said that the whole purpose of education is to turn mirror into windows, which is basically to turn problems in the society into viable opportunities.
While your education and experience may make you eligible to apply for a job, to be successful in the role you will need to exhibit a mix of other skills in other not to just settle for the average.
A famous saying from Victor Hugo which states that “He who opens a school door, closes a prison”, shows the immediate impact of how education can be important in the life of any human being.
Most students get into the university system without a specific career goal in mind, but simply with the belief that a degree will open doors for them once they acquire the degree and enter the job market, as recent studies now suggest that this may no longer necessarily be the case. Most Employers these days don’t just look at what the certificate reads alone but also what one can offer and tender solutions to.
Young people should keep in mind that going down the more practical vocational route doesn’t necessarily preclude them from gaining a degree.
There is a recent debate about indigenous patronage of locally made in Nigeria products and services as a test of patriotism. More reasons why one needs to develop a skill or craft to revive our dying economy
In Nigeria today many people are destined to be greater than they are presently but because of circumstances, laziness, complacency, they miss out of the big picture. They fail to discover themselves in diverse arrears and also the fact that it’s all about solving challenges and not just acquiring an academic degree.
The Government, banks, hospitals, media houses, insurance companies, oil firms, telecommunication companies and so on, cannot employ the entire teaming Nigeria graduates, so it is advisable to learn a skill now, it is better late than never.