A Professor of Economics, Perekunah Bright Eregha, has advised the Federal Government to invest adequately in education and make funding of the sector a priority.
Eregha, a senior lecturer at Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Epe, made the call in a paper delivered at the 10th anniversary of Inspiring Nigeria’s Vanguard of Exceptionally Noble Talents (INVENT) in Lagos.
He pointed out that without education, the country goes nowhere.
He said: “A country cannot grow beyond its human resources, and if there is anywhere fund should be allocated the more, it should be in education.”
Eregha said more priority should be given to public education, with a specific focus on youths, noting that if government sufficiently funds the sector, every youth will be in school and society will be much better for it.
“Skills demand has changed. It is not about being medical doctors or working in oil companies. The world has moved from that to data science. Data sciences are the next crude oil of the world. We are talking about machine learning and artificial intelligence. Some of the data science companies are doing very well, while most of the oil companies are struggling and closing down. It tells Nigerians that the world has changed and in Nigeria currently, we have youth unemployment that is more than 50 per cent. Generally, unemployment in Nigeria is about 33.5 per cent.
“Therefore, people need to shift their focus to skills that are in high demand than the general things we used to do before. I am very happy some youths are tapping into data science opportunities. Just with their laptops, I mean those who are not into Internet fraud, companies in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom are employing them. Some youths don’t have university degrees but acquired the right skills and with it, they are making good dollars in less than two to three hours job.”
Principal facilitator, Invent Youth Leadership Initiative, Mr Elijah Olupona, noted that the event is to prepare youths and secondary school students for future challenges.
“We started in 2012 and it has been 10 years of empowering and equipping the next generation of visionaries and transformative leaders for Nigeria. We needed to equip the next generation to know that leadership rest on their shoulders.
“So, we are not building career leaders, but we believe every vacuum of the society is a career and we need to fill it. The only people that can step up the game are our youths and that is why we are doing this. We can build homegrown individuals across sectors that would help fix manpower requirements in Nigeria,” he said.
Olupona noted that in the past year, over 5,000 students had participated in the leadership summit, while about 1.500 students have been trained on mentorship.
The summit, which started in 2012, was attended by secondary school students from Lagos State. The project is a mentorship programme, which focuses on knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing. The project is a two-phase initiative.