Is College Degree The Only Way To Land A Lucrative Job?

In the past few years, many Irish individuals were prevented from getting lucrative jobs due to prejudice. Most of us are used to the tales of job notices saying “No Irish need apply.” But the fact remains that such prejudice still exists today and is preventing numerous Irish educated people to apply for jobs. Currently, there is a common attitude across Ireland, which is rather ill-informed, that considers a university degree as the only way to land a lucrative job. Moreover, vocational training and apprenticeships are considered to be a poor quality alternative.

Demand For Vocational Skills

Vocational Training

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The truth is, presently there is a rapidly increasing demand for individuals with vocational skills. For instance, around 48,000 workers are now employed in the logistics industry, and in the coming 5 years an additional 13,500 to 15,500 people will be added as the sector will expand. The level of skills required to work in the logistics sector is expanding. Today we need advanced computer management systems along with cutting edge automated warehouses to keep the work going, which is necessitating a high demand for trained & skilled staff.

Damien English, Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, recently wrote in an article “Ireland now has one of the highest proportions of people with a third-level degree in the EU. According to Eurostat, more than half of 30 to 34 year old (51.1 per cent) in Ireland have completed third level compared to a European average of 35.8 per cent of 30- to 34-year-old who had completed tertiary education. The third-level system and the graduates it produces have been key to our economic success.”

Emerging Challenging

Knowledge And Skills

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But, now problems are starting to come up with the existing system. The excess focus on university is preventing numerous youths from acquiring salable knowledge and skills that will enable them to build successful careers. Rather, these young people are being motivated to pursue courses that are not suitable for them or their future careers.

English added “One result is that on average 15 per cent of students drop out after first year (22 per cent from ITs, 9 per cent from universities and 4 per cent from teacher-training colleges). This is a waste both of the students’ time, and taxpayers’ and parents’ money.”

Workers Are Overqualified

A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that more than 42 per cent of workers in Ireland are employed in a field which is not suitable for their qualification. The figure is much more than the OECD average. Moreover, more than 50 per cent of these people are identified as overqualified for the positions they are employed in. According to the report, it has been estimated that this mismatch of qualifications and jobs cost the economy around €1.5 billion.

Education Degree

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Damien English wrote “We have a very good education system but there are significant gaps in how we build skills in Ireland. Academic ability is not the only valuable talent and not every profession is best learnt in an academic setting. Business needs people with strong practical skills, and apprenticeships and vocational training are key to delivering these.”

He added “We need to recalibrate the third-level educational system to focus more on learning by doing and on-the-job training if we are to address these issues. ”

What do you think? Share your own opinions and thoughts with us by commenting below. We would love to hear from you.

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African Students Keen On Starting Career At Home, Not Abroad

                                     Source – bit.ly/1PuNJMl

African nations has been striving hard to boost their economy by undertaking a number of measures and one of the primary means to achieve economic development is by improving the state of education in the continent. This is why most African countries are now trying hard to prevent the most talented and brightest students in Africa from going abroad for higher studies. The emigration of the best students to UK and US universities has sprung up as a serious challenge for Africa as it now desperately wants to retain talents at home. However, new studies have found that “brain drain” in Africa might just end soon.

Source – bit.ly/1JbG5kP 

 Creating Opportunities For Talented Africans

The fact is several African students pursuing higher education abroad are currently finding various career opportunities back in their home countries, where they can use their knowledge and skills effectively. As 7 out of 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, young and talented individuals are realising that home just might the best place to start their career.

Reda Merdi, a 19 year old Moroccan student, is currently set to attend the University of Pennsylvania after completing her course at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg. However, he has no intention to settle in the US from where he finished his Ivy League education. He said “It is more exciting to work in Africa these days. There are way more opportunities, a lot of space for you to work, a lot of space to prove yourself. Also because there are a lot of exciting things going on in the African continent.

               Source – bit.ly/1Krbv7y

Empowering Future Leaders 

The African Leadership Academy was primarily established for leaders of the future across Africa. The institute admits only 3% of applicants and aims to persuade the learners to stay and prosper in the continent. Fred Swaniker, co-founder of the institution, said “Our raw philosophy is that the main reason why people should come back to Africa is not out of any sense of obligation, or because we are forcing them to, but because they really see the tremendous opportunities that exist here for them. And because they see a wonderful future and a real opportunity for them to make a difference.”

He added “If you think like an entrepreneur then Africa is really your paradise… You can really be the next African Sam Walton or the African Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. No one has done that yet. You can be that person.”

Africa Is Transforming

The latest available statistics reveal the improvement of the continent in the last few years. In 2008, Nigeria was ranked at 112 worldwide in retaining well trained and qualified workers; where as now the country is raked at the 48th position. In the global rankings, Ghana has attained the 53rd place from 125th rank; and South Africa is at the 48th position from 72nd rank back in 2008.

                       Source – bit.ly/1DXyiew

Rebecca Harrison, project director at the African Management Initiative, said “Anecdotally, my sense is that there’s a real shift. We are starting to establish some links with a lot of the top business schools, particularly in the States and in Europe, to have Africa clubs, for people who are interested in working in Africa in the future.” She added “Some are from Africa, some are just from elsewhere, but are interested in the continent. We hear from them that their membership is growing quite dramatically. They all want to come over here and do internships here, consulting projects here. They’re interested in exploring working here.”

What do you think? Share your thoughts and ideas with us by commenting below. We would love to hear from you.

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A Quick Look At Entrepreneurship In Africa

                                              Source – bit.ly/1QRYB6g

Today it is becoming much clearer that entrepreneurship can be considered as best solutions to challenging economic scenario faced by Africa, including capital formation, job creation, skills acquisition, social inclusion and quality of governance. But it is important that we find out how it has developed across Africa. Are there any specific features of entrepreneurship in Africa that we may believe relevant to major international debates on sustainability and development?

Characteristics of entrepreneurship in Africa

               Source – bit.ly/1GyxnQz

 I have invested a lot of time in connecting with an effective pro-business think tank which has been busy in developing a useful database of start-ups, small businesses, innovation-focused enterprises and entrepreneurs in Africa. Analysing questionnaire responses, anecdotes, case studies and other aspects of entrepreneurship in Ghana and other African regions, I realised there were 2 main features of African entrepreneurship: hyper-entrepreneurship & excess diversification.

Earlier I had a rather negative attitude towards both these issues. I kept searching for reasons why the great start of our African economy has been comparatively slower than what was estimated by the experts. At present, Africa is developing by 5 per cent yearly, instead of 10 per cent growth which we can observe in India and China. I believe the problem is that the style of hyper-entrepreneurship followed across Africa are drastically different from the general business models that are predominant in the West.

Hyper-entrepreneurship

Regarding hyper-entrepreneurship, the observation was the rate of staff turnover seemed rather high in the entrepreneurial section of our economy, which includes sole proprietorships, innovation-driven businesses, non-public businesses, small businesses and even startups. The workers who we were observing in the business revealed an impressively high propensity, as compared to their western counterparts, to quit their existing jobs and start a new business, instead of getting another job with a higher pay. This pointed to a major shortfall in quality followership across Africa, which means a shortage of essential managerial talent.

Now i am sure that the entrepreneurial driver for the talent bubble in labour markets in Africa yields adequate net benefits for the economy. This is primarily by reason of being in a job tends to encourage latent entrepreneurship. Moreover, there is a growing intensive investment of social capital for creating financial capital. Hence, although most employees might not be able to save adequate cash, they tend to develop confidence and build contacts which can prove to be as good as cash in a standard informal economy.

                  Source – bit.ly/1dAPTfW

Excess diversification  

However, there is also a tendency towards excess diversification which I observed. My think-tank team and I were surprised to realise that several simultaneous businesses are managed and owned by a typical entrepreneur in Africa. A particular waste utility entrepreneur led almost 66 different organisations. In general, most entrepreneurs that were studied tended to run about 6 businesses on average.

The business leaders who are running these small sized organisations were most probably had less prospects compared to if they focused on lesser and scalable businesses by adjusting their incentives with determined managers. In this perspective, the economy was struggling with numerous clones of foreign exchange bureau, autogarages, restaurants, grocery shops etc. The profit margins tended to be low, which resulted in low salaries, limited growth and growing departing managers who opened more clone businesses, resulting in economic under-performance.

However, I still believe that Africa can move forward and improve the economic state of the continent by taking the right entrepreneurial measures and supporting aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Share your thoughts with us by commenting here.

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STEM Courses Getting Interdisciplinary and Interactive

                                Source – bit.ly/1LdbkPG

A new grant of 2.4 million dollars for four years, from National Science Foundation in United States of America, to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), aims to make some of the courses in the undergraduate level, more interactive and interdisciplinary.

The courses chosen for the purpose are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses. Under the leadership of Blaire Van Valkenburgh, UCLA’s associate dean of life sciences, the NSF (National Science Foundation) aims for implementation of time-tested online techniques to live upto the true expectation of a learner.

Techniques for goal achievement

Online, with the scope of taking time to go through the discourse given repeatedly and interact with teachers in a friendly and open-minded way, and discussing open-ended questions, make better assimilation possible.

Implementation of quizzes and interactive games

Quizzes and interactive games will be worked out, to make the achievement of the goal of deeper undesrstanding possible.

This things are not new, as with the introduction of things like video conferencing and remote learning, taking learning experience to a new height, active participation of the students in solving genuine and original problems on their own has started living upto the true ideal of a learner.

Interactive sessions

As mentioned above, interactive sessions give students greater autonomy, that allows them to accept whatever truth comes at them, that they reveal. Without the pressure of remaining suboprdinate to the teachers, interactive sessions permit the student to go deep and see the truth, without any prohibition conforming to the norm, bringing the true genius out of them.

These sort of freedom in education, naturally motivates learners with true interest and curiosity about solving existential and epistemogical puzzles .. in an age of high competition.

Use of practical models

In this new initiative, practical model from biology and quanitative research of practical life, diametrically opposite to the qualitative abstraction of pure mathematics, will be incorporated in math courses along with courses in statistics.

Collaborative learning workshops by PEERS (Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences) will be complementing interdisciplinary initiatives like this, to make the abstract-minded student more practical and to make them stay in the courses.

Keeping students in line

Help of alumni

According to planning, members of alumni from UCLA, will be requested, in another project, to share their knowledge from studying in UCLA, matching their bright, successful careers, to give a career goal and practical direction to students apart from enlightenment, projecting tangible achievement that might possibly motivate continuation of the study in the university.

Measurement of progress

Case studies like these, will also be used in actual learning as well, to measure student learning.

Funding universities for increased interdisciplinary study is a consistent step towards comprehensive solution of emerging world problems, from realistic social perspective.

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Nigerian Education must be Purposeful & Vision-driven, concludes NESG

Source: bit.ly/1t4xzPY

Source: bit.ly/1t4xzPY

It was only a couple of weeks back when education was enlisted on the agenda out of a national discourse initiated with the private sector-driven organisation, National Economic Summit Group. They held their 20th annual conference where the primary theme was related to:

  • the role of education that can strengthen a society’s foundation
  • how education can lead to national transformation and growth

Keeping these goals in mind, the organisation decided to raise awareness towards the gradual deterioration in the sector which must therefore provoke strategic engagement. Well, the entire outing was super successful for which Mr Frank Nweke, the NESG Director General; Mr Foluso Phillips, the chairman and several participants from both public and private sectors deserve appreciation.

The 1-week summit ended with the conclusion that:

  • Nigeria must now require education that would not only be driven by vision but should also be purposeful
  • There must be competent professionals who must take the initiative to execute this strategy
  • The nation must extend their objectives from education spending to education investment
  • Nigeria must reconstruct their learning ambiance and accentuate on making students achieve trendy skills that are relevant globally
  • Help schools initiate abilities to develop and establish research that can keep enhancing their standards with time
  • There must be transformation from the prevalent conventional examination pattern to a system that highlights on the learning outcome

Since critical stakeholders from both public and private sectors along with Namadi Sambo, the Vice President, participated in most of the sessions, a key note of optimism popped up in regard to fixing fundamental issues on Nigerian education. Now, it’s going to be a new challenge that would let Nigeria move from action through talks to restructured education.

Implementing reforms is education is crucial

A serious aspect that has been discussed here is implementing reforms in the education sector. Having chaired by one of the retired UNESCO Directors for Education, Professor P.A.I. Obanya, along with departments and institutions under membership, far-reaching recommendations were made by the panel. As per the presidential panel, both the state and federal levels have witnessed a steady rise in the number of bureaucracies along with an increasing demand. Despite, a proportionate improvement in service delivery was not achieved and there was instead a huge amount of transactional costs.

What the findings have moreover exposed is that the current management models cannot effectively promote education policy as well as educational service delivery in the nation. So, what’s essential now are:

–         Decentralisation of power

–      Necessary resources for developing and managing basic education that can serve education authorities run by the local government

–    Existing top-down approaches must be reversed by making states work with federal authorities since the phase of conceptualising the initiatives

–         Involvement of expanded stakeholders must be there at almost every level of education in the nation

Besides, digital learning has played a key role in strengthening the educational standards of Nigeria. As per reports, the country now holds around 48.4 million internet users, and this clearly shows that the nation is gradually equipping itself to compete with the developed ones.

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Nigeria must overcome its Poor Standard in Education to Meet Real Development

Source: bit.ly/1ikFDXP

If proper developments are to take place in Nigeria, the first and foremost measure that should be initiated is rectifying the massive shortcomings in the country’s education systems.  And, it is not that the Federal Government is not aware of the fact.

But, whilst the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike blames on poor reading culture for poor performance of students in public examination, Mr. Folusho Philips, the chairman of Philips Consulting, points out to the decrepit state of educational infrastructure in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The classrooms are not at all conducive of studying. In most of the classrooms, there are no chairs for teachers to sit. (Source:bit.ly/1ikFDXP )

Proper Use of More Funds is Required

Mr. Philips’ view is very logical. If the government really wants to bring improvement in the country’s education sphere, the leadership must demonstrate the willingness to move in and define education. And, as he emphasises, more funds have to be injected into the education sector. But, as he also points out, it is not solely money that can bring positive changes to the crisis. What is actually necessary is the right set of people who can direct the money into real developments.

Need Improvement in Basic Amenities

Source: bit.ly/1fE35yS

Where a public university in Nigeria lacks basic infrastructure like water supply on regular basis, accommodation, electricity, and well-equipped libraries, and, according to Chief Afe Babaloba, many of the nation’s universities “are not much better than secondary schools”, the things really deserve serious attention. Students experience a four-year course without getting to the laboratory for once. (Source: bit.ly/1hipRK9)

There are about 130 universities, and over 300 polytechnics and colleges owned by the Federal and state government, almost all of which are in rotten condition. And, to get over from this condition, priority on education has to be invested with earnest eagerness. Without substantial measures neither such length of shortcomings can be overcome, nor can Nigeria see the light of actual developments. (Source: bit.ly/1dYNtot)

Unsolved Issues can be More Devastating

Add to these is the alleged non-implementation of the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government Agreement, leading to industrial action embarked upon by university teachers that has brought the public university system to its knees. Educationalist Dr. Cecelia Paul says, “ASUU wants concrete evidence because once bitten, twice shy. The lecturers know where the shoe pains and so won’t want to take chances again. They don’t want to go in vain and can therefore build on this foundation.

The Needs Assessment Committee headed by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and joined by former ASUU President Prof. Awuzie, also discovered the disgusting state of infrastructure in the Nigerian public university system. (Source: bit.ly/NcZwEa)

Unexplored Paths Have to be Checked Out

The problem is somewhat deep, which obviously needs immediate solution. But, if Nigerian government keeps on failing to bring required improvement to the sector, Nigeria must consider taking benefit of international education. With the blessing of communication technology, higher education from international universities has become easy and truly affordable. Without leaving their country, Nigerian students can continue their studies through many prestigious international universities online.

There are many way outs that Nigeria must take into account to tackle its long term struggle to overcome its educational inferiority. Newer possibilities should also be grabbed instantly to avail a good alternative system.