If you can’t join them, beat them: How to disrupt higher education in Nigeria

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There is a small group of young people I am part of here in Lagos who support and mentor each other as we try to make something of ourselves without a 9 to 5 job. We call ourselves entrepreneurs to feel better about our struggle to scale our various small businesses and live like the responsible adults we are supposed to be. Whenever we meet to whine and moan about Nigeria, we generally end up moaning in unison about one thing in particular – staffing.

Before going further, I must clarify that this is not a “Nigerian youths are ignorant, lazy and entitled” article. The performance of young Nigerians in more supportive environments clearly shows that the problem is not with the aptitude or intelligence of Nigerian graduates as individuals. Nevertheless, there is a problem. Across our mix of professional services and creative endeavours, the common recurring complaint in our merry little group is that the general quality of entry-level labour one can get in Nigeria is dire.

We frequently trade stories about dealing with basic comprehension and literacy issues, attitude and cultural mindset problems, ethical problems like plagiarism, and lack of initiative. One and all, we agree that Nigerian universities and polytechnics woefully fail to provide students with even the most basic skills to make them employable or competitive in the world they graduate into.

Nigerian higher education is ripe for disruption

The problem of pitifully low-quality higher education does not affect graduates and their employment prospects alone. As the world moves further away from the 20th Century natural resource extraction model into an economy of ideas, the economic performance of a country will have an even higher correlation to the productivity of its workforce. Currently our already abysmal productivity per capita is inflated … Read More...