With a dramatically changing media environment, challenging economic and social climates, shifting relationships between citizens and policy makers and an evolving understanding of democracy, science stands as a ready tool to help combat modern difficulties. One therefore wonders why science should not be accorded its due respect and attention in Nigeria.
For years now, majority of the students who sat for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board exams seemed to have shown preference for the social sciences and Arts based courses against their science counterparts thereby widening the manpower gap in the country.
This mismatch in manpower need to grow the economy has become a major source of worry that should not be allowed to linger. Analysed data backed with observable facts have revealed that there is manpower shortfall in the country and there is the urgent need to address the situation for the growth of the economy.
A great source of concern is the lack of interest to study science-based courses and agriculture. Government has continued to invest in agriculture and mouth its intention to develop the agric sector but if the curriculum is not adjusted to make the study of science pleasurable, all that would not only be in vain but also puts the country’s food security at risk.
Lack of manpower in this aspect could tarnish government efforts at eradicating hunger and poverty. The expected foreign exchange earnings from agricultural productivity might not trickle in to the country as expected. Vacillating on these matters of serious concern could spell doom not only for the future of the economy but the well-being of her citizens.
At the moment, this trend has become noticeable in the quality of graduates produced by the country’s universities. Huge gap in manpower requirement has made unemployment a social problem that may remain with us for a long time. Presently, the labour market is desirous of doctors and staff specialised in the medical sciences, engineers, farmers, and geologists but what is obtainable is myriads of social scientists, business administrators and lawyers
to name a few. To be factual, huge supply of unneededlabourarereadytoworkwheretheir expertise are not demanded, a phenomenon that will continue to stunt the socio-economic growth in the country. This development is a reflection of the Nigerian society today.
A lot of thought has been given to what could have sustained this mismatch in manpower supply over the years in the country. The social machinery has molded the value system and this dictate the pace of what appeal and repel people in the system. This is justified by the value the society placed on a particular profession. The much needed profession in Nigeria today are farmers and teachers; a meticulous observation shows that the type of treatment and respect these classes of profession are accorded in Nigeria today is enough to discourage a candidate taking these career paths. What further exacerbates this anomaly is the structure of incentive the economy offers. A banker and a computer engineer are well re munerated in the system, than a university lecturer that imparts the knowledge to these classes of professionals. Farming which is the first occupation of man has been relegated to the background and without developing man power to handle this profession; food security is at risk in the country.
For impact to be felt with this forecast, the country at large needs value re-orientation sharpened by proactive government policies. The government should create attractive pack- ages that will lure these young lads to desire in- terest, especially in agriculture and education.
The NUC and the university authorities should re evaluate through comprehensive assessment of the academic curriculum and ensure that it meets the present realities of the time. The Minister of Education must put in place framework and mechanisms that will en- sure that effective education policy implementation bring good result and impact that will address the dislocation in manpower supply in the country. Parents and teachers have a patriotic role to play by taking up the challenge in helping the nation achieve her targets by inculcating in their wards careers that will speed economic recovery.