Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has advocated for a change in Nigeria’s system of education to focus on development of talents, rather than training of students to be employable only.
This, he added, will put an end to the practice of churning out graduates that depend on others, instead of Nigeria depending on them to attain much needed development and progress, Dogara’s media aide, Turaki Hassan said in a statement.
Speaking on the topic, “Leadership by Products: The Role of Universities,” at the matriculation ceremony of Covenant University, Otta, Ogun State, as the Guest Speaker, Dogara, argued that it is time for an education system that will leave a mark that will force the world to make a room for graduates of Nigerian schools.
“You can be intelligent, smart and skillful but if that is all you have got, it’s an employer that will hire and pay you. But when you discover, develop and release your gift, it’s the world that pays you. Unfortunately, our education system was not designed to train students to identify and develop their gifts but to train us to be employable.
“For Nigeria and indeed Africa to make the needed progress we must discard this colonial masters’ design of an education system that continues to churn out products that depend on others rather than products we can depend on.
“Education is not necessarily the key to success and just like democracy, education guarantees nothing. I say so because the Bible does not say that a man’s education makes room for him, but that his gift does.
“Again, if education were the key to success, then all professors, all Ph.D holders and all the educated will be prosperous, stable, secure and happy. But sadly that is not always the case because it is one’s gift that is the key to his success,” he said.
Mr Dogara explained further, “I should never be understood to be saying that education is worthless. I believe in education and I know that education is most important in personal development and advancement but the point I am making is that we need more than education to make a mark that will force the world to make a room for us.”
He said universities must take the lead by empowering and investing more in their students, he admonished Covenant University to ensure that its fruits (products) out-competes products of other universities through innovation, debate and encouragement of dreams and visions, even though it will not be an easy task.
“Universities must also be centre of excellence and innovation. The products of this matriculation must lead in innovation to honour one of the cardinal goals of this institution which is the “birth of path-finders, pace-setters and trail-blazers”.
“Without innovation no university can compete. Thankfully, innovation has nothing to do with new things as nothing new is being created by God. All you need to innovate is present. Innovation has to do with arranging old things in new ways.
“Ideas are the key to innovation that’s why universities must be encouraged to engage in debates about pleasant and unpleasant issues and to question possibly all things including those working and those not working. Any university that diminishes debate and the spirit of free inquiry will diminish as a result,” he said.
He conveyed the National Assembly’s willingness to consider request for new laws that will support and encourage the best research endeavours that will solve the nation’s economic and social problems.