A panel at the ongoing Social Media Week on Thursday urged the Federal Government to leverage on technology in building sustainable models to close the country’s skills gap and prepare the young generation for the future of work.
The speakers gave the advice during a panel discussion on “Edtech and the Future of Work: Building Sustainable Models to Close the African Skill Gap”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SMW is one of the world’s foremost conferences and industry news platforms for marketers.
It provides brands, agencies and technology providers with the latest insights, trends and best practices together with access to a global community of marketing decision makers.
Nkemdilim Begho, Chief Executive Officer of Future Software Resources Ltd., said to achieve a sustainable model that could close the skill gap, the government needed to catch up on closing the digital divide by investing more in training the younger generation.
“Children should be trained on technologies that would prepare them ahead for the future of work.
“With the Internet, there is so much the young ones can learn, even without formal education.
“The truth is we have to start thinking of what education really means to us as individuals, corporates, training schools, government and as a nation,” she said.
Begho said global research data shows that 60 per cent of children under 12 today, would grow up to work in jobs that don’t exist yet – and it is no different on the continent.
She said that Nigeria already had a huge unemployment rate and a growing youth population, noting that we could either prepare our youth for the future or potentially face a major crisis.
Ukinebo Dare, Managing Director, Edo State Skills Development Agency, said that government needed to dismantle the current process for approving courses in the universities to be able to meet up with where the world was going.
She also noted that parents should take it upon themselves to train and educate their children from the age of five on the importance of coding.
Dare said that the Edo State Government had been doing a lot of awareness and training on technology.
“The Edo government have partnered with Mainone to have access to high speed broadband internet at the location we use for training residents.
“We see a lot of tech jobs coming to Edo and we have trained over 22,000 people in different areas cutting across the technology sector,” she said.
Dare noted that it was time to transform our educational system across the continent in readiness for the jobs of the future, which will require digital and 21st-century skills.
Also speaking, Joseph Agunbiade, Founder of Univelcity, said that the technology sector was demanding new talents, noting that Nigeria was not bridging the skill gap yet.
“The challenge is that as Nigerians, we are still stuck to the traditional ways of doing things; that narrative needs to change so that we can compete with other countries in terms of technology and education.
“We need to compress the education curriculum; for example, there are some fields of medicine that would be eradicated by artificial intelligence very soon,” Agunbiade said.
Okechukwu Iroegbu, Chief Information Officer, Stanbic IBTC, said that Nigeria had to start turning out graduates who were tech savvy, noting that the government should also create more jobs in the information technology space.
“So many Nigerian graduates are now leaving for Canada to get jobs; for me the first thing we need to do as a country is to convince the younger generation that there is a future in Nigeria by investing more in education and job creation.