Nigerians attach a lot of importance to getting a university degree. This is probably a result of the outdated mentality that education is the only route to economic success.
The craze for University education is clearly reflected in the number of young secondary school leavers who enroll for the annual Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination. For the 2021 examination, JAMB confirmed that 1,415,501 students registered for UTME and Direct Entry (DE).
When the results were released, it was an eyesore. This is not good for the students because only 65.62 percent scored above 160 out of 400. Worse still, a mere 0.06 percent scored over 300 marks. A fall from 0.16 percent in 2019 and 0.26 percent in 2020.
Interestingly, some of these applicants plan to study IT-related courses at the university. However, since they think they have no other option, they will wait until next year to attempt a resit of the same UTME and probably score below the cut-off mark again.
Those who are already at the university studying any form of software course are either paying through their teeth to get such education in a private university or paying little at a public university where most of what they learn is theoretical.
Regardless, some universities stand out when it comes to ICT or tech-related courses. They include Covenant University, University of Ilorin, Babcock University, University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Nigeria, and the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
But the question remains- do you really need to go through the four walls of a university to become an IT professional? It is important to ask this question because ed-tech startups like Zwart Talent Foundation train young Nigerians to kick start their IT career within a short period of time via thorough, efficient, and practical training.
Factors Against Pursuing ICT Education at a Nigerian university
Strikes are inseparable from Nigerian public universities. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has embarked on uncountable strikes to disrupt the academic calendar and prolong the university stay of students. Unfortunately, students are at the receiving end of these incessant strikes.
To receive a BSc in computer or software science in most Nigerian universities, you’ll have to spend 4 or 5 years. This is not factoring in forced breaks by strikes, riots, or any other upheaval. Time does not wait for anyone. But, the student has no choice but to wait to graduate, participate in the mandatory NYSC before starting job hunting for limited jobs.
Not many Nigerians can afford private universities. Those who can afford it attend private institutions, spend money and time getting the certificate. In this, they do slightly better when compared to their public university counterparts. You can save up on the time and money required by joining the Zwart Academy.
Meeting the qualifications
With the current JAMB score, it will be difficult for many school leavers to secure admission to the polytechnic, let alone a university. The alternative is to join one of the innovative ed-tech startups in Nigeria that offer quality IT and software education. Applications are evaluated, and outstanding candidates are selected.
Quality of Education
The quality of education in Nigeria has raised a lot of concerns. For those studying IT-related courses, they have lamented about it being too theoretical. Without any doubt, becoming an IT professional should involve a lot of practicals. A popular theory is that putting in ten thousand hours of practice would make you a maestro in any endeavor. Zwart Talent Academy’s practical approach to teaching would put you on your way to clocking up those precious 10,000 hours under the tutelage of some of the best IT professionals on the continent. What could be better than that?
Practical, Innovative and Affordable Approach to ICT Education
Currently, educational startups offer young Nigerians ICT education that does not consume time and money.
One of such startups is Zwart Academy, an arm of Zwart Talent Foundation. The Academy offers training to students for 6 months, and it covers technical skills, soft skills, creative and logical reasoning. The training is free and 100% practical.
After completing the training, graduates then move on to 12 months of intensive internship with Zwart Tech and other associate companies. The graduates get to work on projects to enhance their skills and build their portfolios.