Agriculture and vocational education should be a bigger focus for Nigerian students

Nigeria used to be a country where agriculture was the primary source of income, for the majority of people. And then oil was discovered, and business interests changed. Despite the arrival of the petrol industry in the country, agriculture is still the largest sector of Nigerian business.

Even so, the majority of students in Nigeria decide to go to university and seek out other professional qualifications. While it is commendable that there are so many children who are motivated and ambitious to attend a higher education institution, this poses a threat to the economy in Nigeria.

The agricultural sector is starting to suffer from a lack of skillful workers, who can benefit from the fertile lands in the country. Unfortunately, most young people and their parents too believe that a “white collar” job is preferable, as skillful manual work has been reserved for a lower social stratum for centuries.

Vocational education

Considering these trends, and the global drop in skillful workers, not only in the agricultural sector, has inspired numerous public figures to speak out in support of better funding for more practical subjects in university.

Nigerian universities often request more substantial admission fees for more theoretical or liberal arts subjects, which means that these subjects are better funded. Vocational education and more practical subjects, ones related to the agricultural sector as well, remain somewhat neglected.

According to a recent World Bank research, the agricultural sector formed about twenty percent (20%) of Nigeria’s GDP in 2018. However, less and less young people are interested in pursuing a career in this sector. Instead, they are seeking out the “white collar” economy. Vocational education worldwide needs a serious boost, as more and more students are drawn away from professions, which require more practical skills. An excellent example of how countries are working towards creating more vocational education opportunities is the recent joint project between Germany and China, which also aims to strengthen the political ties between the two countries.