“Until you leave school, you hardly really learn”. This aphorism does entirely encapsulate the paradox of schooling and formal education. Of course, we can say with a large measure of security that the resultant certificate does little or no good and contributes very minimally to the society. Whereas the modern day society and labour market has woken up to the reality about school certificates and practical skills, colleges and universities have, rather unfortunately, failed to move with the tide in that they still churn out graduates who have only been taught by drained granny professors with the same age long teaching methods using the very same rusty apparatus the lecturers used in their own days in the same dilapidated laboratories and classrooms and worse still, studying courses that are out of congruity with the demands of the modern society.
Come to think of it; why would companies spend so much efforts and money to ensure their new employees undergo about three to six months of training before they get to practise after four to six years of study in the higher institution? The answer does not require much brainstorming. It is simply because studying a course in school already automatically makes it outdated. Companies are therefore forced to reteach their new employees in the name of training in order to sharpen their knowledge and skills and make them suitable to the recent work system.
The irrelevance of courses taken in the universities is manifested at two levels: the level of study courses and the level of component courses done each semester. At the first level, it often amazes and amuses conscious minds what prospects some study courses hold in the ever dynamic world of work. Some of such courses are known by fancy, funny and incongruent nomenclatures. Examples include Banking Engineering, Accounting Technology, Automobile Education, Toxicology, to name but a few. To a large extent, most of these courses are unaccredited but because of the moneymaking mentality of university administrators, students are admitted for such courses even when it is crystal clear that the the courses are without employability prospects in the Nigerian society.
On the other hand, there are also cases of irrelevant component courses which students who undertake viable courses which contribute to the advancement of the nation are forced to study. Put differently, students have often complained of being made to study component courses that do not in any way relate to or benefit their career pursuits. Take for example, students of Microbiology in a certain Federal university are made to study JAVA and computer programming while students of Law are made to take courses in Theatre and Stage management! Horrible combinations, you may say.
The defence of proponents of this system of education is that the aim is to build a complex all-round individual is rather baseless and is a reflection of the lack of objectivity rocking our educational system. This does not in any way explain diversification but only leaves students distraught and disoriented. It is high time the Ministry of Education and other concerned bodies and parastatals looked into the irrelevance of certain courses taken in our higher institutions of learning and relieve the labour world and employers of clueless educated students with anachronistic ideas whom they would have to sweat over to update them to recent work patterns and system in general.