Students of Nigerian tertiary institutions especially undergraduates of public universities should be happy, looking forward to the future with excitement however this is not so because they have become casualties of never-ending strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which put them in jeopardy in a competitive labor market.
In its Q32018 Labour statistics report, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the headline unemployment figure at 23.1%, an increase of 4.3 percentage points from 18.8% in the preceding quarter. Of the 9.7 million people that did absolutely nothing, 8.77 million or 90.1% were first-time job seekers who have never worked before, NBS explained.
Jameelah Yaqub, an associate professor of Economics at Lagos State University (LASU) said, “Incessant strikes would likely worsen the unemployment situation in Nigeria because they elongate the time spent in schools to acquire the necessary qualification for employment, making fresh graduates older than the age bracket required by most jobs”. Strikes also lead to students losing out on quality education as they would subsequently have to be hurried out of the school system, Yaqub added. He said, “These strikes affect the quality of graduates of most public schools as semesters have to be shortened to cover up for periods lost to the strike.”
Also, Emmanuel Noko, Lead Researcher at Enugu-based M&C Research Institute, admits that strikes are a contributory factor to the deficiency of skills required in the corporate world. He said, “When you look at the situation from a specific vintage, strikes distort academic calendar and affects the ability of lecturers to cover their syllabus, which consequently tells on the competence of the graduates,’’
Ibrahim Bakare, another LASU associate professor of economics, opines that to reduce fresh-graduate unemployment, the government should review public universities’ curriculum to enable