Curriculum Implementation And The Employability Of Education Graduates

Project and Seminar Material for Curriculum Studies

Curriculum Implementation And The Employability Of Education Graduates


Abstract


The major purpose of this study is to determine the influence of curriculum implementation on the employability of the Education Graduates of the University of Lagos. Three research question was raised to guide the study and one research hypothesis was formulated. The descriptive survey research design was adopted for this study. The population of the study comprised of students from the Department of Educational Administration of the University of Lagos, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members from Surulere, Lagos and teachers drawn from various private schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The systematic random sampling technique was used in selecting 150 respondents from the population. The method of data collection was the questionnaire, the researcher administered the instrument, data was analyzed using the Mean, Standard Deviation, and t-test analysis. One of the major findings was that employability skills as part of the curriculum makes the difference in graduate unemployment. A major recommendation include that curriculum must be reviewed periodically and drawn in tandem with the requirements of employers of labour in order to match current realities.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Higher education institutions must recognise that for many students, the transition from education into employment is not a straightforward matter and in the past many students have been ill-equipped for this transition. During the 1990s, this issue has been exacerbated because of the considerable expansion in graduate numbers which has taken place within a relatively short period of time. Furthermore, the nature of graduate employment is changing, today it is only a minority of students who can hold any realistic expectation of employment in a position directly related to the discipline studied; this is particularly the case for those students whose focus remains within traditional academic disciplines.

Whilst it is essential that the academic standards of particular disciplines or broader fields of study are not undermined, it is also important to be realistic and to note that the academic knowledge gained will (for most students) never be utilised directly in any employment context. More and more, the academic qualification of the degree is merely a statement that the graduate has demonstrated the ability to perform to a particular level of academic competence and, perhaps more importantly, possesses the ability to learn (Steven and Fallows, 1998).

Employers, universities and professional bodies agree that Nigeria needs to develop professionals who are highly skilled and ready to face the challenges of increased competition. More than ever, we need professionals who are responsive to economic, social, cultural, technical and environmental change and can work flexibly and intelligently across business contexts. The country requires education graduates who understand the part they play in the impartation of knowledge to pupils and have the practical skills to work effectively in their roles.

However, contributing in the school environment means more than having the necessary teaching skills. It means engaging with the school and its goals, understanding the dynamics of the school environment and taking up a job role with an informed knowledge of all of its requirements. It also means applying a broad range of employability skills learned in many contexts and through a range of experiences. Emerging institutions aspire to be more competitive, more effective and more innovative. The education graduate workforce is a key part of the talent pool the school environment draws from to further these objectives. Universities clearly want to produce graduates with the skills that are highly regarded by employers and are seen to contribute to the acquisition of lifelong skills by the students, country’s prosperity and social capital. Emerging teaching professionals want to attain interesting employment, and build their professional careers.

National development is inextricably linked to human development. All education graduates of institutions of higher learning play a major role in the development of their countries and in the advancement of their respective disciplines. While technical discipline-specific knowledge is a prerequisite for all graduates, effective management skills are also needed by those entering the private sector and government. However, the challenge is that curriculum design and implementation require a major overhaul for graduates to acquire these competencies and skills. Our curriculum in most higher institutes of learning does not have an extensive curriculum reform to include mentoring and internships as part of the regular training in all educational programmes. Educational providers globally are increasingly expected to focus on improving the employability of their learners. This has led to greater attention on a range of institutional policies and practices that focus on the individual’s learning and which seek to address their deficits of knowledge, skills and attitudes.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nigeria has a serious challenge. Many education graduates of its universities cannot find work. Despite an average economic growth rate of about seven percent per annum over the last seven years, a good performance by global standards, wage employment is estimated to have declined by about thirty percent according to a recent World Bank Publication titled “Putting Nigeria to Work”. Nigeria has a serious jobless growth problem. Its strong economic performance over the last decade has not translated to jobs and real life opportunities for its many of its youths. (Olu Akanmu, 2011).

Three out of ten graduates of higher institutions cannot find work. Being highly educated does not increase the chance of finding a job. Many graduates of higher institution who find work are not usually gainfully employed. They are forced to accept marginal jobs that do not use their qualifications in sales, agriculture and manual labour according to the British Council sponsored Nigeria-Next Generation Report. For those who are lucky to find jobs, employers are concerned about their skills and fit with their job requirements. Standards have fallen in higher education due to years of poor implementation of the curriculum, leading to a growing preference for overseas university education.

Nigeria is one of the biggest markets for British Higher Education because many upper- middle class families see it as a way to give their children a head-start in life. This however has serious social equity implications as not more than ten percent of Nigerian families can afford to send their children abroad. There is an increasing correlation between employability of graduates and their social class. If education is the bridge to liberating the potentials of young people and bridging the social divide by offering everyone a chance to climb the social ladder, higher education in Nigeria may be failing.

Employers want their graduate recruits to be competent in their chosen fields. They also want them to come out of school well equipped with complementary life skills such as problem solving, reflective and critical thinking, interpersonal and teaming skills, effective communication, character, integrity and high level of personal ethics, self-esteem, self-discipline, organizing skills and abilities to translate ideas to action. The problem, typical of higher education in many countries is that these life skills are rarely taught as part of higher education curriculum. Yet, as soft as they are, they are no less important in making a success out of school as the specific technical skills in a graduate’s chosen field.

According to Olu Akanmu (2011), there are two critical policy issues to address in putting the Nigerian graduate to work. The first is how to increase the employment generation capacity of the economy, create jobs that will absorb thousands of higher education graduates and reverse the current pattern of Nigeria’s jobless economic growth. It is estimated that Nigeria needs to create twenty-four million jobs over the next ten years to half current unemployment level of thirty percent. The second policy issue to address is how higher education institutions will produce graduates that are employable for the jobs created.

How would Nigerian universities improve standards to produce graduates with the minimum sufficient technical skills in their chosen fields? Her national spending priorities will need to be re-ordered to allocate more resources to human capacity development which has a high leverage on its social and economic development. In addition, Nigeria’s education policy must also address how its universities will develop the complementary curriculum that addresses the life skill requirements its graduates and prepare them better for their post-graduate life journey? The disparity between postgraduate employment reality and higher education curriculum in specific field and general terms will need to be addressed.

The historical underfunding of curriculum implementation has led to a crisis of standards in higher education. Putting the education graduate to gainful work also implies that its higher education institutions should partner with schools to develop employability content in higher education curriculum and provide formal life skills training for students. The curriculum does not include life case analysis in teaching that brings the real work problems to life.


1.3 Purpose / Objectives of the Study

The purpose of the study is to:

  1. Analyse the impact of curriculum implementation on life learning skills acquired by Faculty of Education graduates in the University of Lagos.
  2. Identify how the Faculty of Education currently integrates, develops and teaches employability skills to undergraduates through its curriculum.
  3. Identifying practical, cost-effective options that enable employability to be identified as part of the Faculty of Education curriculum.

The study will also shed more light on the employability skills needed by education graduates to fully succeed in the teaching environment.


1.4 Research Questions

To guide the study, the following research questions were posed,

  1. Does curriculum implementation directly affect the employability of education graduates in the University of Lagos?
  2. Is the University of Lagos currently teaching life learning skills and competencies in their Education Faculty?
  3. How effective are the vocational and technical training for new education graduates towards being employable?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

There is significant difference between the teaching abilities of education graduates that have been exposed to teaching practice as part of the curriculum and Non-education graduates who have not been part of any teaching practice scheme as part of their curriculum.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study will involve

  1. Defining curriculum implementation in the Faculty of Education of the University of Lagos, the methods and effectiveness.
  2. Reviewing and identifying the best practice for integrating, developing, teaching, assessing on employability skills.
  3. Identifying practical, cost-effective options that enable employability skills that are embedded in university education qualifications to be explicitly identified as part of the higher education assessment and reporting process.
  4. Examining the factors that affect qualitative implementation of curriculum in the Faculty of Education of the University of Lagos.

It should be noted that the study focuses only on curriculum implementation in the Faculty of Education, UNILAG and the employability of its new graduates.


1.7 Significance of the Study

The findings of this research will be of great importance to all the stakeholders among which are:

1. Curriculum Designers

The findings will better inform the curriculum designers and implementers on why the curriculum should be reviewed frequently. It will also guide them on how to plan for the education graduates and equally put in motion processes geared towards repositioning the curriculum to more responsive to the needs of the society.

2. Researchers

The study will provide a framework for subsequent studies in this area and it will serve as reference work for researchers who intend to carry out similar studies.

3. Students

The study will serve as an eye opener to the education graduates who are not informed about the skills they are supposed to possess.

4. Employers

The findings of this work will be of immense help to employers of labour as it will afford them the opportunity to know the areas of weaknesses of our graduates and how to possibly organise on the job training for new recruits to address this challenge.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

The study will not be concerned with the employability of existing Education graduates in the labour market but will be focussing on new graduates. The study will only concern itself with the design and implementation of curriculum at the Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Foundation; it will not be examining curriculum implementation in other Faculties in the University.


1.9 Operational Definitions of Important Terms

Curriculum:

Is a plan or programme of all experiences which the learner encounters under the direction of a school (Tanner and Tanner, 1995: 158). Curriculum in this study refers to the programme of activities run by the school to prepare their product for the labour market. According to Gatawa (1990), it is “the totality of the experiences of children for which schools are responsible”. All this is in agreement with Sergiovanni and Starrat (1983), who argue that curriculum is “that which a student is supposed to encounter, study, practice and master… what the student learns. A curriculum outlines a prescribed series of courses to take.

Employability:

A set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations. Booth, (2003). It is that quality that enables a worker fit into the world of work.

Curriculum Implementation:

Curriculum implementation entails putting into practice the officially prescribed courses of study, syllabuses and subjects. The process involves helping the learner acquire knowledge or experience. It is important to note that curriculum implementation cannot take place without the learner. The learner is therefore the central figure in the curriculum implementation process. Implementation takes place as the learner acquires the planned or intended experiences, knowledge, skills, ideas and attitudes that are aimed at enabling the same learner to function effectively in a society (University of Zimbabwe, 1995).

Curriculum implementation is how the school is able to meet the requirements on the policy of education at the higher level.


Curriculum Implementation And The Employability Of Education Graduates


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