Beyond The University: Why Skills Matters

 By Ogor Mathias 

Education is the bedrock of the development of every nation. A country can not rise beyond its standard of education. The development of many countries is traceable to their effective and sound educational system. A society where people have no access to Western education will suffer many challenges ranging from poverty to insecurity because a person who is not informed will be deformed. The effect is huge on the society that bears the brunt as it is today in Nigeria. 

In recent years, the rate of insurgency in the country has been a source of worry as a large number of people who indulge in this criminal act are uneducated and vulnerable. The society will be free from insecurity if 90% of the citizens have access to Western education where moral and ethical values and norms of the society are taught. 

Since the introduction of Western education in Nigeria in 1842, the dream of a Nigerian child is to strive at all costs to get into the university system for the award of a degree after a certain duration of studies. It's one thing to gain admission and another thing to develop oneself in the school to meet up with the demands of life.

Necessary criteria such as the West African Examination Council(WAEC) and Joint Admission and Matriculations Board(JAMB) results are fundamental during the admission process. Year in and out, millions of students have graduated from our universities while there are no job opportunities to accommodate them. 

On account of these domestic social challenges in Nigeria, "Beyond the University" is pertinent as lots of business ideas will be highlighted to give students high chances for self-development and actualization. University is not only a place to acquire academic knowledge but to learn everything that could have a positive impact on our well-being after school. 

It is obvious that despite the challenges of unemployment due to over-saturation in the labor market, university students are yet to realize the truth that life after school is not as juicy as they might have imagined. What could be the solution to this social syndrome is thinking beyond the four walls of the University which entails learning skills and prioritizing entrepreneurship while on campus. 

Many Nigerian students pay less attention to skills and entrepreneurship only to admit after graduation that obtaining a degree is not enough to succeed in our modern world. The earlier students realize this, the better plan they have for life outside the University. It's important to include entrepreneurship courses in the curriculum for higher institutions across Nigerian states. 

Our University students are limited to business and skills that can monetized to earn a living after school. Success in life is beyond the classroom activities and students who fail to acknowledge this are found roaming around the major streets in cities in quest for green pastures. A few might succeed but statistics have shown that only 25% of graduates gain meaningful jobs after the first-fifth year of graduation. 

Graduating with a good grade from the university calls for acknowledgment of one's brilliance but that doesn't guarantee a white-collar job upon graduation. Worthy of note, no level of one's academic excellence can take the place of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship. 

This is not by any means encouraging academic laziness, but spending all our valuable time on educational activities without looking beyond the four walls of the University is a journey that will hit a rock. Many people don't obtain a degree but they are doing well in business and handwork. The mindset of one becoming wealthy after a university education without skills is one among many reasons why the majority of people are educated but struggle to live a meaningful life after school.

What Skills Can Students Learn on Campus?

Affiliate Marketing: The digital world has helped many people make money without owning a physical business. One way to earn as a student is "Affiliate Marketing"

This is the type of performance-based marketing that rewards the afflicted(Publishers) for other actions brought to the merchant(advertiser) by the affiliate's action. 

Networking and Copyright: With just a smartphone, students can easily learn this skill online as the world has become digitalized. This skill will remain relevant as long as the world develops technologically.

Tailoring Skills: Students can learn how to sew during semester break or holiday. As long as people continue to wear clothes, tailors will remain relevant to themselves and society. For as long as people continue to live, tailors will be patronized. 

Cake Baking: Students can easily learn how to bake cake and snacks within short intervals while in school. This skill can be perfected after graduation and serve as a source of income for students to help themselves and their family members. 

Manicure and pedicure: This is a simple skill that students can learn in a couple of weeks. Many university ladies fix their nails weekly or monthly. Learning these skills will generate little income for students within and outside school.  

Plating or Barbing: Female students can't do with making their hair look beautiful. Likewise, male students cut theirs. Acquiring this skill can make one gain a little money to assist him/herself on campus. It can be achieved within a short period if students give it a try. 

Makeup Artist: We are in an era where people can't do without fashion. These skills can be acquired through short-term training without affecting students' academic activities. 

More so,  students who look beyond the University and learn skills will not rely on the government for jobs before meeting their daily basic needs. We should help the government reduce the alarming rate of unemployment in the country by learning a skill rather than expecting a white-collar job at the end of our study. 

Students should explore every opportunity available to them to learn profitable skills that can better their lives after graduation. It's high time we realized that the government can not employ all Nigerian university graduates but small-scale business or skills can secure something to earn a living. Students should think beyond the four walls of the University and engage themselves in profitable extracurricular activities to enhance self-dependent, growth, development, and actualization after graduation.

Adekunle Famuyiwa

An avid writer, campus Journalist, researcher and budding Lawyer. Currently a 500-level student of Law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, and the Editor-In-Chief of Observers Mag

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