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PROJECT TOPIC: A STUDY TO INVESTIGATE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LABOUR MARKET CORE SKILLS REQUIREMENTS AND UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SOFT SKILLS COMPETENCE IN NORTH-WEST, NIGERIA.

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

            Education is a means of empowerment to an individual and the society. Also, it is a solid tool for developing human capacity needed for a sustainable national development. Tertiary education, which comprises universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and mono technics, has been recognised as a means of developing human capacity required for sustainable national growth and development. Categorically, universities are saddled with the responsibility of developing high-level manpower within the setting of the requirements of the nation. As a result of the globalisation, data innovation and revolution in the present-day learning-based economy, so much prospect has been placed on universities in creating, outfitting and transmitting information for sustainable development and improved standard of living. Consequently, the university plays a critical part in engendering the human capacities with respect to authority, administration and technical expertise.

            All over the world, investment in the university education is a critical component of national development eff-ort. Countries today depend to a great extent on information, thoughts and skills which are created in universities (OECD, 1996; World Bank, 1997). As a country’s learning industry, the university increases the productive capacity of the labour force. In the developed countries, for example, university’s researchers are able to monitor ecumenical technological trends, survey their importance to national needs and help with building up the national innovative capacity with respect to economic development.    

            Going by this trend, there has been high demand for the university education in Nigeria since independence in order to increase the supply of manpower in the labour market. Following the recommendation of the Ashby Commission of 1959 that new universities should be established in the then three Regions and Lagos, the then Capital Territory, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Ibadan together with University of Lagos, Lagos, were established as the first generation of universities in Nigeria. It is imperative to note that since then the University network in Nigeria has developed significantly. The quantity of universities has expanded from five in 1962 to one hundred and twenty-eight (128) in 2013, comprising 40 Federal, 38 State and 50 private universities (Okojie, 2013) and a total number of 151 in 2016 (National University Commission, 2016).

            The goals of the university education, as stated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2014), are to:

  1. contribute to national development through high level manpower training;
  2. provide accessible and affordable quality learning opportunities in formal and informal education in response to the needs and interests of all Nigerians;
  3. provide high quality career counselling and lifelong learning programmes that prepare students with the knowledge and skills for self-reliance and the world of work;

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