Lagos Business School faculty, Professor Olawale Ajai delivered a lecture on Nigeria’s educational sector, curriculum and policy restructuring to support manufacturing at the recently held Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Ikeja, Lagos.
The Association works with government and other stakeholders in the economy to promote an enabling environment for industrial development, growth and prosperity of the society.
Professor Ajai, who teaches business law and the social and political environment of business at LBS, gave a background on what was obtainable in Nigeria’s education system before 2008 – the 6-3-3-4 curriculum, the revision that led to the adoption of the 9-3-4 curriculum, and the 2014 revision that was introduced to correct gaps in the system.
He also addressed the challenges of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, especially technical and vocational education training centres who have been sidelined as a result of the prevalent belief by parents and standards that their standards do not match up to those of universities.
Reinforcing the topic, Professor Ajai provided a comparative review of China’s education system, which is the largest in the world. Unlike Nigeria, vocational education in China is developed in close interaction with industry and often delivered in special alliance with organisations. Further comparison also proves that China is accelerating investment in science, technology, innovation, informatisation and digitalisation while Nigerian education seems mired in pervasive crisis and backwardness.
He itemised several strategies that the manufacturing sector can leverage in light of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) launched by the Federal Government in 2017. Some of the strategies include promoting innovation and technology-led industries by partnering with academia/ research institutes for supportive local innovation, encouraging the development of resource-processing sectors, among others.
The lecture rounded off with Professor Ajai proffering solutions that will help grow the manufacturing ecosystem. He said, “Manufacturing industry must proactively work with and coordinate with education authorities to reform curricula, admit students for vocational training, focus on science, technology and innovation and repositioning of research institutes.”
The LBS faculty comprises highly qualified academics and professionals in industry working either full-time or part-time. They bring to the classroom knowledge and practical guidance acquired through a unique combination of research, professional experience, and consulting work done in Nigeria as well as global companies.