More than 85 per cent of Nigeria’s graduates have no digital skills, a survey by GetBundi, an online education technology outfit, has shown.
The outcome of the survey, according to Mr Osita Oparaugo, the chief executive officer of the outfit, shows that more than 100 million young people are not prepared to take up good job opportunities that require such modern skills.
“There is an overwhelming digital skills gap that has been linked to the high unemployment rate in Nigeria.
“The 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,” he pointed out in a statement in Lagos.
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 skill.
“Even that skill 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.
“Most of them are active on social media as 89 have active Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, and 11 have LinkedIn accounts.
“However, they have little or no knowledge of any digital skills. About 15 carry one form of science-based field certificate or the other but have no practical knowledge when tested in their areas of study.
“This situation, at a time when digital skills rule the world, is worrisome, though the young people are not entirely to blame.
“The education system takes a huge chunk of the blame. The education system has often been criticised, and rightly, for not being updated with the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
“The curriculum used in many Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions is outdated and does not adequately cover the practical aspect of relevant digital skills.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 recognised 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 innovation,” he said.
“These initiatives aim to provide Nigerian youths with opportunities to learn and apply digital skills, thereby increasing their employability and entrepreneurial prospects,” he added.
He noted, however, that addressing the issue required collaboration.
“It requires a collaborative effort among government, educational institutions, private sector organisations and individuals to provide accessible and relevant digital skills training to Nigerian youths.
“Addressing the digital skills gap among youths graduates requires a multi-pronged approach.
“In this regard, Getbundi, has articulated some strategies that can be implemented and one of them is to update educational curriculum
in secondary and tertiary institutions.
“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 programmes that target individuals who are already in the workforce or have limited educational opportunities.
“These programmes can offer training workshops, online courses and resources to enhance digital skills.
“Public-private partnerships can be formed to increase the reach and effectiveness of such initiatives.
“We must also strengthen digital infrastructure to improve access to reliable internet connectivity across the country.
“This can be done by expanding broadband infrastructure and reducing the cost of internet services.
“Access to affordable and reliable internet is crucial for individuals to acquire and enhance digital skills, so we must raise awareness and change mindsets and try to highlight the importance of digital skills in the current job market and overall societal development.
“This can help change mindsets and encourage individuals, parents, and employers to prioritise digital skills acquisition and support relevant initiatives.
“Individuals should be encouraged to pursue online courses, attend workshops and participate in digital activities to stay updated with evolving technologies and acquire new skills.
“The arrival of the fourth industrial revolution has, no doubt, ushered in a new era of globalisation, with significant changes and disruptions across various industries, necessitating the prioritisation of digital skills.”
To further address the digital skills gap in Nigeria and Africa, especially among Nigerian graduates, Oparaugo said that GetBundi had developed STEM-related courses for secondary school students, based on the West African School Certificate curriculum.
“We also have digital skills courses to equip everyone, young or old, with relevant 21st Century job-ready skills.
“Our platform also has micro-sliced courses for impactful learning with 107 skillful instructors.
“Individuals can get verified and go remote after learning some digital skills such as coding, artificial intelligence, graphics, video editing, cybersecurity, and much more in less than six months.
“Getbundi believes that equipping Nigerian youths with relevant digital skills can help build a skilled workforce better equipped to meet the demands of the modern economy,” he said.