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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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BBC Hausa puts Nigeria's universities under the spotlight

In a week of special programming, BBC Hausa examines the state of Nigeria's higher education and the effect on it of protracted university strikes. At 5.30 GMT, from Monday 19 to Friday 23 October, the Demise Of Skilled Workforce? series explores the realities of university education in Nigeria and asks whether the country's university graduates can be relied upon as the country's future workforce.

The education system in post-independence Nigeria was the pride of the country. With high-quality research and learning in the educational institutions, the country was able to export skilled and knowledgeable graduates. Nigeria's university graduates were a workforce sought after across the continent.

Today, however, things are changing as regular strikes by university teachers as well as student riots are becoming the order of the day.

This year, Nigerian universities stayed closed for four months due to disagreement between university staff and the Nigerian government over pay and funding. The situation has been assessed by some observers as a cumulative effect of neglect by successive Nigerian governments of the public education sector, in a setup in which the children of the well-to-do and top government officials are sent abroad for their studies.

Head of BBC Hausa, Jamilah Tangaza, says: "In recent years, Nigerian universities have been criticised as 'breeding grounds for half-baked graduates'. But now incessant strikes may mean that the country's future workforce is in real jeopardy.

"Does the current impasse between the government and the unions spell doom for a country whose president wants Nigeria to be among 20 most developed countries of the world by 2020? Throughout the week of reports, interviews and analysis on BBC Hausa, we offer our audiences a comprehensive view of the situation and what it may mean for the country's future."

While university don, Professor Umaru Pate, offers his analysis of the situation, BBC Hausa's Ibrahim Isa talks to a parent, whose children are at home because of the strike and who cannot afford to send them overseas.

The BBC also talks to Nigeria's Minister of State for Education, Aisha Jibril Dukku, to find out whether the reason why government officials are seen as paying little attention to the country's education system is because most of them send their children overseas to get good education.

The BBC will also discuss with the minister whether the government really sees good education as one of the pre-requisites of getting a competent and professional workforce that would help fast-track Nigeria's economy to a developed one.

Former Central Bank Governor of Nigeria, Professor Charles Soludo, once said that the vast majority of Nigerian graduates are "unemployable", mainly because they lack the necessary skills required by high-tech and manufacturing industries.

BBC Hausa's Nurah Ringim takes a trip to a textile company in the Northern Nigerian State of Kaduna to find out what measures industries are taking to bring graduate engineers up to standard. The journalist gauges the concern of industrialists over the quality of Nigerian graduates and how this concern is affecting their businesses. What do they make of the incessant strikes by universities in Nigeria and their impact on the workforce they employ?

During the four months of the latest strike action, dozens of students were arrested for armed robbery, prostitution and petty crimes. BBC Hausa's Shehu Saulawa reports about the concerns and fears of parents and students alike, and the social, economic and political costs of the continuing strike.

BBC Hausa broadcasts at 05.30 GMT on 41 and 49 meters, at 0630 GMT on 22, 25 and 31 meters, at 1345 GMT on 13 and 16 meters, and at 1930 GMT on 16, 9 and 41 meters shortwave. The programming, in audio and text, is also available via the website bbchausa.com.

Notes to Editors

BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster delivering 32 language and regional services, including: Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, English, English for Africa, English for the Caribbean, French for Africa, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Mandarin, Nepali, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese for Africa, Portuguese for Brazil, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Somali, Spanish for Latin America, Swahili, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 188 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. It has around 2,000 partner radio stations which take BBC content, and numerous partnerships supplying content to mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate.

For more information, visit bbcworldservice.com.

BBC World Service International Publicity

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