By Ibukun Emiola
Ibadan, Sept. 14, 2020 A Petroleum and Environmental Geologist, Prof. Olugbenga Ehinola, has said that the gap between the university curricula and industry skills requirements must be bridged through active collaboration for any meaningful national development.
Ehinola, a personnel of the University of Ibadan, said this on Monday at the ninth edition conference of the Faculty of Sciences of The Polytechnic, Ibadan.
The virtual conference is entitled: “The Role of Academia and Industrialists in National Socioeconomic Development, Youths Unemployment and Insecurity”.
Ehinola, the keynote speaker, said that there were lots of innovations and creativity in the industry unknown to the academia and as a result, also unknown to students of higher learning of institutions.
“Thus, the department, in line with their university’s vision, should seek collaboration with key industry players in the field of technology and knowledge transfer.
“In spite of sound scientific training, we observe that university or polytechnic products are not industry ready owing to some factors.
“The skill gap challenges are limited exposure, lack of laboratory equipment in schools and gap in universities curricular and industrial skills requirements.
“University research and teaching should be focused on solving real life problems that will contribute to national development.
“A stop should be put to redundant and repetitive research work with no scientific values and which contributes nothing to national development,” he said.
According to him, industrial experience is very important to the employability of graduates.
“It is, therefore, important that students acquire such experience before graduation.
“Though the industry has been helpful in this area in terms of industrial training programme, there is need for improvement to bridge the existing gap between industry and academia,” he said.
He also noted that incessant strike often resulted in poor educational quality, critical shortage of manpower and disillusioned youths, who could end up embracing vices after losing interest in tertiary education.
The ripple effects, he said, could be unending.
Ehinola, therefore, stressed the need for adequate funding of education and for the provision of infrastructure for schools at all levels.
The Rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Prof. Kazzem Adebiyi, said that the topic of the conference was apt, considering the multi-headed hydra challenges facing the country, especially the high rate of unemployment.
The address of the rector was delivered by Mrs Olubunmi Olubamiwa, the Deputy Rector of the institution.
The academics can no longer work in isolation; they need to collaborate to promote economic development.
“Once there is employment for our teeming youths, insecurity will be taken care of to a large extent.
“The Faculty of Science is well positioned to enhance the industrial revolution in Nigeria.
“There are opportunities and potential to harness to reposition Nigeria.
“Some of our educational fields are underutilised, such as Geology and Computer Science,” he said.
Also, Mr Musibao Ayinla, the institution’s Dean of Faculty of Science, said tgat the virtual conference came due to COVID-19 and its impacts on Nigerians.
According to him, the theme cuts across all spheres of human life and it is germane to proffer solutions to the various challenges bedevilling Nigeria, if there will be progress in the country.
“There can be no better time for this topic as it is now that unemployment is ubiquitous.
“We are not exploring all avenues to reduce unemployment in Nigeria. For instance, 50 per cent of Nigeria youths can be employed in the mining industry, if well harnessed.
“We have so much research going on in our faculty, but lack of connections between the industry and academia remains the bane,” he said.
Ayinla further said thar the submissions from the conference would be useful for strategising and maximising the nation’s enormous resources