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JOB HUNTING: WHY ARE THE CHANCES SO SLIM FOR ART GRADUATES
Under the Nigerian educational system, every secondary school student is at a point examined in order to determine which of the departments fits him/her the most; (science, art and commercial being the major divisions). The current sorting method generally splits each batch of students into “more academically inclined” and “less academically inclined” with the science department getting the larger share of students.
The dilemma that each student faces in this regard is even more prominent and very consequential when one considers that whatever choice s/he makes has the potential of setting the course of the rest of their lives. Survey shows that most of the students have aspirations of becoming a doctor, an engineer or a scientist (aspirations no doubt influenced by popular sentiments) and therefore have no choice but to opt for the science department.
Note that some find themselves in the science department because their schools or parents have thrust it upon them or oddly, because of the perspective that emanates from the common conception (or should I say misconception) that science students are better than art students and that art students are “less academically inclined”
The debate on “science versus art” and which one outwits the other and provides more opportunity when it comes to getting a decent job is an eternal one and it would seem to appear that the majority of opinion seem to favour the science department due to various reasons, chief among them being that theoretically speaking, it is infinitely easier to get a job if one finishes with a decent grade in a science-related discipline. Indeed, most online survey list in their top ten most marketable courses such science courses as nursing/laboratory science, mechanical, electrical/ and other related engineering courses, medicine, estate management/architecture/building/survey or civil engineering and according to these online surveys, unless one studies law (arguably the most respected course from the art department), chances are slim that one will get a decent job and earn a decent income from other art related degrees (but of course this is not always true)
There is nothing wrong with a degree in any of the art disciplines if you have sufficient knowledge, solid experience in the particular field and a knack for critical analysis; without these, RThowever, it is virtually impossible to get a job in the current market. More lethal is the fact that art and social science courses which used to be valued are basically dead or mega-competitive (most people avoid such disciplines as law and education for this sole reason)
Perhaps, one other major reason why ‘art students’ have a hard time finding a decent job is because employment is only guaranteed in this day and age if one is considered a critical asset (this is probably why doctors and dentist are in such popular demand. Personally, I’ve not seen a jobless doctor.) With respect to dentists, we have only about twenty thousand to cater for almost one twenty million people who might require their services. Statistics have also shown that to have a good fighting chance, one must major in disciplines in the health sciences, engineering or computer science.
On a final note, it should be noted that in practice, it doesn’t really matter whether one finishes as a science or art student when it comes to getting a job. On this point, I consider the words of Dr. Mahfouz Oladimeji of the University of Ilorin very instructive.
“My argument has always been that it is not really the course you study that makes you; it is the uniqueness in you. The contemporary world of work is interested in excellence, the stuff you can offer, not in your discipline per se.”