Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Align university programmes with industry needs


Tertiary institutions in the country baffle us with their characteristic irony: while they claim to have some of the sharpest brains, in terms of knowledge attainment, such minds seem to be out of sync when it comes to analysing the needs of modern industries.

It is sad that half the population of graduates that come out of university expected to be fully baked are, in fact, half baked, for they fail to meet needs of industries, as tracer studies have indicated.

It, therefore, does not inspire confidence in us when research findings indicate that some university programmes are too specialised, or that some graduates are good at management aspects only but fall by the wayside when it comes to hands-on experience.


Our quick analysis is that universities, both public and private, have been busy commissioning research projects that influence policy and discourse in other areas other than the university. Consequently, we do not always hear of research initiated by universities being targeted at universities and that is where we have missed it.

Common sense dictates that one should mop their house first before extending the gesture to others. But, sadly, our universities seem intent on investigating others, which has, unfortunately, meant they have been sanitising the rot in other industries while the university house has been stinking.

Universities should first have focused on their needs. If that were done, they would have realised that they are stuck in the past while the world around them has been changing. No wonder, the curricula has largely failed to add value to industries.


To make matters worse, most programmes in the university— save for a few that are focused on entrepreneurship— are focused on white collar jobs, even when job opportunities are thin.

The truth is that we needed to revisit our university curricula yesterday. But, since the train has passed us by, we can still do something for the sake of our children. Let us revisit, without delay, our universities’ curricula to align them with the demands of the fast moving world.

Again, we should marry theory with practice by encouraging internship so that, by the time graduates come out of college, they should hit the professional ground running. This way, we will save costs that go with special training while promoting production to meet our national development goals.

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