ASSESSMENT OF GRADUATES EMPLOYABILITY IN LAGOS STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
The source of quality in education would include well maintained buildings with all required gadgets being conducive to learning, outstanding lecturers, high moral values, excellent examination results, specialization, the support of parents, business, local community and non-governmental organization’s support, adequate facilities, the application of the latest technology, strong and purposeful leadership, care and concern for pupils or students, a balanced curriculum that is, the curriculum that matches the employers’ demand in the labour market (Adeyanju and Olaniyi, 2015).
The quality of graduates in Nigeria is on a rapid decline especially in the area of valuable skills including; communication, technical abilities, human interaction, social, conceptual and analytical capacity (Anho, 2011).
Anho (2011) noted further that the National University Commission (NUC) in 2000 organized a curriculum review debate in collaboration with other stakeholders in the education and observed graduates who left schools between 1995 and 2000; they found out that standards have actually declined in those critical skills. Consequently, the NUC in its statutory responsibility embarked on conducting comprehensive curriculum review exercise to address current and future high level manpower needs, so that the products from the system can actually compete well with their counterparts around the globe. The mechanism for improving and sustaining quality and high standard in the universities has been set by the Federal Government of Nigeria. However, the actual implementation is yet to yield any meaningful results as quality of university graduates whether from the field of Law or other disciplines has continue to generate intensive debates and worries.
In today’s competitive and challenging global world with diverse demands, many countries are facing serious problems of graduate employability (Adesina, 2013). As a result, the higher education sectors are under immense pressure from governments, employers and parents to produce quality graduates that can be economically engaged at the individual, national and global level (Teichler, 2007). Such graduates should possess a combination of attributes that will enable them to take an adaptive and proactive approach to their careers (Bezuidenhout, 2011).
Eurosat (2013) noted that employability is about having the capability to gain initial employment, maintain employment and obtain new employment if required. For the individual, employability depends upon: assets in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes; the way these assets are used and deployed; presentation of assets to potential employers and the context within which the individual works, e.g. labour market and personal circumstances.
This is therefore a key challenge to tertiary institutions in Nigeria, which produces over 300,000 graduates annually; a number that should ordinarily meet the country’s human capital resources needs (Oyesiku, 2010). But employers willing to pay well to attract skilled workers are increasingly finding it difficult to fill job vacancies. Akanmu (2011) opines that products of the Nigerian University system have at different forum been challenged to test their suitability or otherwise to secure few available white collar jobs. He went further to say that the situation is not only sympathetic but embarrassing that the vast human material resources available to the country had not been trained and utilized to the advantage of the country. Thus the undertaking of this study will beam a searchlight on the employability of law graduates in Lagos State universities.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Employers of labour in Nigeria often complain that graduates are poorly prepared for work. They believe that academic standards have fallen considerably over the past decade and that a university degree is no longer a guarantee of communication skills or technical competence. As a result, university graduates are commonly viewed as “half baked.”
One of the most aching challenges confronting Nigeria today is the issue of unemployment. It has become so severe that policy-makers, parents and youths, especially graduates alike are having sleepless nights over it. The issue has been in the front burner of national discourse in recent years. The unemployment question is even aggravated by the increasing number of graduates being churned out annually by tertiary institutions made up of Universities, Polytechnics, monotechnics and Colleges of Education (Educational and Employability Survey Report, 2014).
More worrisome is the problem of graduate employability, which has rendered many Nigerian graduate unemployable. This is because, while it is one thing for tertiary institutions to produce graduates, it is another for the products of these schools to meet up with employers’ requirements, skills or competences for employment. Employers of labour often complain that some of these graduates though professionally or technically qualified are unemployable, in that they lack the requisite, essential skills or competencies needed in the job or for sustainable employment. These skills create a gap in their knowledge (Sodipo, 2014).
Stories and jokes abound in Nigeria regarding the supposed shortcomings of university graduates. Yet empirical information and reports are rare. What is the real situation? Is graduate employability a serious problem? How do employers assess the qualifications of current degree-holders? How well do graduates perform when they are able to obtain employment? This study will fill in the gap by critically assessing the employability of law graduates in Lagos State universities.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The study will be conducted with the following objectives:
i. To find out the effect of quality education on university law graduates employability in Lagos State
ii. To examine the extent at which the possession of communication skills is related to graduates employability.
iii. To measure the relationship between technical competence and law graduates employability in Lagos State
1.4 Research Questions
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
1. What is the effect of quality education on university law graduates employability in Lagos State?
2. To what extent is the possession of communication skills related to graduates employability?
3. What is relationship between technical competence and law graduates employability in Lagos State?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Previous researchers have been very divergent in their views about the relationship between employability and law graduates in Lagos State universities. This study will therefore be of great significance as it will add to the already existing literature.
The outcomes of research study will serve as feedback to the education sector especially the departments of Teacher Training and Development and Curriculum and Evaluation. The study will influence policy formulation pertaining to the training of teachers/lecturers in the future.
The outcomes of the study will also be useful to university students, like students in the field of educational management when doing a likely research. The study would be significant to policy makers and implementers at large, as they would make use of the findings and recommendations of this study.