A survey by GetBundi, an online education technology outfit, has shown that about 85 percent of Nigerian graduates have no digital skills. The CEO of the outfit, Osita Oparaugo, said that the outcome of the survey shows that more than 100 million young people are not prepared to take up good job opportunities that require such modern skills. He said that there was an overwhelming digital skills gap that has been linked to the high unemployment rate in Nigeria.
In a statement, he stated that lack of digital skills has been named as a major reason why many graduates produced yearly from the country’s tertiary institutions are unable to secure employment in the labour market. To buttress the point, Oparaugo said that a 2023 survey conducted by GetBundi Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Digital Skill Education Technology Company, involving 100 NYSC members showed that only 19 of them had any form of digital skills.
Results of the survey showed a concerning skill dearth.
He said that even the skills that they had was mostly Microsoft Excel and basic knowledge. All of the seven that had basic knowledge of programming, machine learning and data science studied outside Nigeria – five in the UK, one in the United States and one in Malaysia. Also, most of them were active on social media as 89 have active Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and 11 had Linkedin accounts. However, they have little or no knowledge of any digital skills.
According to Oparaugo, about 15 of them possessed one form of science-based field certificate or the other but have no practical knowledge when tested in their areas of study. He said that the situation is worrisome at a time when digital skills rule the world. Nonetheless, while young people are not entirely to blame, the education system takes a huge chunk of the blame. “The education system has often been criticized, and rightly, for not being updated with the rapidly evolving digital landscape,” he said.
Government had intervened by promoting digital literacy.
Further, the curriculum used in many Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions is outdated and does not adequately cover the practical aspect of relevant digital skills. Practical digital skills that would better prepare the youths for jobs and self-employment are all lacking in the current education system. He argued that the government had recognized the need to address this issue and took steps to promote digital literacy and skill development among youths. Some of the efforts include initiatives such as coding boot camps, online training platforms, partnerships with technology companies, and entrepreneurship programs that focus on digital innovations.
These initiatives aim to provide Nigerian youths with opportunities to learn and apply digital skills, thereby increasing their employability and entrepreneurial prospects. But addressing the issue also requires collaborative effort among government, educational institutions, private sector organizations and individuals to provide accessible and relevant digital skills training to Nigerian youths. So, he said that addressing the digital skills gap among youth graduates requires a multi-pronged approach. In this regard, he said that Getbundi has articulated some strategies that can be implemented and one of them is to update the educational curriculum in secondary and tertiary institutions.
Youths should move with the tide of digital skills.
The report revealed that most schools use outdated and irrelevant curriculum to teach students, which is devoid of digital skills. To equip these youths for the digital economy, it is pertinent that the curriculum is updated with relevant skills such as coding, data analysis, cybersecurity, among others. “We must also promote digital literacy programs that target individuals who are already in the workforce or have limited educational opportunities,” the report said. This will be a step in the right direction to getting the Nigerian youth to move according to the current wave of digital skills required on the labour market.