In these past few months, I’ve followed several Edtech solutions/companies closely and while their effort is laudable for having achieved some success, I strongly believe their approach is flawed. This is not to specifically claim that they’re doing the wrong things but simply that they would have greater impact on the Nigerian education system if they refocused their efforts. There is a lot of attention being paid to the lower levels of education – primary and secondary schools – as well as the transitional exams into higher institutions yet the greatest problem lies within the tertiary education system. This is after all, the system supposed to equip individuals with the necessary knowledge and its industrial applications in order to be more productive in the outside world.
Of course, it’ll be quite easy to point to the Western world’s focus on computer based courses and conclude, “Presto, that’s what we need” but that would not only be ill-advised but also uninformed. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some of the top qualifications in the Western world are computer-based skills, hence the spotlight on such. With a much different system at work in Nigeria, it’s not effective to adopt a similar strategy if you want to provide indigenous value on a large scale. We must look into our biggest industries and prevalent practices in order to devise a solution that provides the most impact. Industries such as Agriculture, Real Estate as well as Engineering – Petroleum/Chemical in particular – are excellent starting points in which technology can provide better equipped potential employees that can add value to their employers, improve existing systems and provide nationwide economic growth.
Let us focus on what the market needs from graduates, find experts who can provide this ‘education’ and link them up with those still in the tertiary education system. If this strategy is successfully executed, we’ll have more individuals who upon leaving higher institutions are better suited to fulfil the country’s needs thereby increasing their chances of getting jobs and that needful work experience, as Mr Tayo Oviosu stated. This is crucial in improving your chances of creating a sustainable and successful business in due time. It’s a pretty efficient cycle if you ask me: Educate undergrads with useful and applicable skills, thus making them increasingly employable which in turn leads to an individual with the right work experience and skillset to educate another generation of undergrads.
I may be wrong though or maybe there’s already someone out there who knows this and is working on it but I strongly believe the Edtech companies will not have truly fulfilled their potential until they are able to successfully employ this strategy to transform the Nigerian education system.