Stakeholders have declared the need of the inclusion of more practical learning in tertiary institutions, to help students gain job experiences that are needed for employment; this is in response to the continuous questions raised by employers concerning the employability of graduates of the Nigerian tertiary institutions. The high rate of unemployment in the country has been of utmost concern, as more graduates are being nurtured with little or no practical experience on a yearly basis.
Feedback from employers have asserted that many Nigerian graduates are unable to put their studied course into practice due to the practical application of knowledge and skills required by the course. However, there are so many factors hindering practical education in Nigerian tertiary institutions such as inadequate facilities, outdated facilities, unavailability of experienced technicians, insufficient funding, lack of necessary equipment, and many more. Due to the aforementioned factors, many students spend the required years in these institutions and graduate without having integral practical knowledge needed to complement their learning.
Practical education promotes learning and adaptation.
Mrs. Empress Thelma Igwe, an educationist and learning difficulty consultant, stated that practical education plays a major role in reducing examination malpractice and certificate forgery. She further added that practical classes promote social interactions; instills the love for learning, improved independence, ability to do teamwork, and interest in school activities in students; while it also erases poor reasoning and poor understanding. Stakeholders also argued that practical education boosts learning and adaptation, as it improves the better understanding of courses that are being taught theoretically.
In addition, It was said that students of this generation find it difficult to read long notes and many theories are so lengthy that the unnecessary points outweigh the important ones, therefore, students are more interested in concise facts and simple ways of understanding. Notwithstanding, students, through frequent participation in practical activities, that proves facts, would easily remember what they are being taught, even theory-wise. Private tertiary institution owners are also advised to add practical fees to students’ tuition for its inclusion.
Students appeal to institutions to provide practical learning facilities.
A student of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edet Enogabasi, expressed dissatisfaction stating how poor practical classes could be the cause of poor academic performance. Being a student of electrical engineering, she confessed her difficulty in understanding practical engineering work, talk much of being a professional engineer. She therefore urged governments and tertiary institutions to enable the provision of quality workshops, necessary facilities, equipment, and expert technicians, to aid the proper atmosphere for acquiring requisite practical knowledge.
Also lamenting about the poor state of practical learning in tertiary institutions, Mercy Omorodion, a student of Mass Communication, Delta State University, Abraka, said that the knowledge of her course would be further broadened by adequate practice, while improving her confidence, helping her adapt easily, and affecting her performance in her course of study positively. The DELSU student further acknowledged that asides from the practical knowledge which she gained during her internship, she has never engaged in any practical work in school.
Lack of employable skills make graduates remain unemployed.
Parents and guardians also decried the lack of practical education in tertiary institutions, advising governments to make amends by building practical laboratories with needed equipment, and providing maintenance funds to aid their smooth operations. One of the goals of practical education is to expose students to necessary skills for easy transition from the classroom to a world where practical work experience is needed. The lack of possession of these employable skills, have made many graduates remain unemployed, therefore, students appeal to tertiary institutions to find an urgent solution.