Determined to tackle the decline in the quality of graduates and to address the competence and skill gaps in the banking industry and financial institution, Caleb University, Imota, Lagos and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) have reiterated commitment to push the frontiers of knowledge and research through capacity building for the economy sector.

This was as they also expressed readiness to foster healthy ‘town and gown’ relationship that will enhance quality delivery in the university system, and strengthen the existing partnership between the university and institute.

CIBN, which expressed dismay over the competence gap in the sector, however, restated its determination to bring serving and retired bank Managing Directors and other professionals into the classrooms to train and up-skill Nigerian undergraduates with a view to bridging the competence gap in the banking industry brought about by poor quality of university graduates.

“For the university to provide the workforce for the banking sector as part of its core mandates, there is the need for synergy and collaboration between the university and the institute in terms of building competent workforce,” the institute pointed out.

It also lamented the quantum of resources banks committed to the retraining of graduates due to their poor quality and standard.

This was part of the thrust of the special luncheon, organised by the university management in honour of the new President/Chairman of Council of CIBN, Dr. Uche Olowu, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.

In his view, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ayandiji Aina, said the collaboration had become necessary given the critical role of the university system in the production of competent workforce for the banking industry and other sectors of the national economy.

He said that through the existing partnership between the university and the CIBN, which would be sustained and further strengthened, the ivory tower and CIBN would as a matter of exigency jointly bridge the competency gap in the job market, especially the banking industry, which had to retrain university graduates in order to be employable.

While lauding the Institute for the collaboration, Aina hinted that the university would continue to connect with best global training institutions, including CIBN, ICAN, as well as Ivy League institutions such as the Harvard University and MIT in the United State, among others in the area of global finance by bringing professionals into the university for capacity building and to up-skill the students in the face of the dwindling standard.

“We are determined to offer value to the university curriculum and in doing this, we need to collaborate with development and training institutions in the area of capacity building of our students, which CIBN is ready to provide,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

This was even as he challenged the CIBN President and the Council to sustain the existing relationship between Caleb University and CIBN in order to build a formidable training ground for the students.

With this in mind, the Vice-Chancellor lamented what he described as “poor research funding” in the country, and called on the government and other key stakeholders, especially corporate organizations and development partners to as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives, fund research in universities.

“The nation’s human capacity development needs to be vigorously energized by the university system in collaboration with CIBN and the university is looking at the various areas in which CIBN could come in by bringing professionals to mainstream the partnership.

According to him, for universities to be a centre for political and socio-economic research in the country, there is the need for intervention and support of CIBN and other institutions for this.

On his part, Olowu, described the partnership with the university as “a strategic focus and response to the falling standard of workforce in the banking industry,” saying there is the need for a holistic approach to rescue the situation in which university graduates are not fit for the purpose.

Lamenting the decline in the quality and standard of graduates of Nigerian tertiary institutions, Olowu, who pledged the readiness of the institution to strengthen collaboration with the university, however, pointed out that the decline would be rescued through vigorous training and synergy with universities.

He noted that there was the need to change and fine-tune the university curriculum to keep pace with technological move in the banking and financial industry, saying CIBN would partner the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and other regulatory agencies in the education sector to achieve such curriculum change.

Towards this end, he insisted that special certification programmes would be initiated in the universities and polytechnics in line with happenings in the global market to up-skill the graduates.

“Universities should come up with programmes to ensure this initiative, as there is the urgent need to foster the ‘town and gown relationship,” he added.

The high point of the event attended by principal officers of the university, including the Registrar, Mrs. Folake Okor; Prof. Segun Ajibola, Dean, College of Management and immediate past President/Chairman of Council of CIBN; members of the CIBN Council, was the presentation of gift/souvenir to the new President, Olowu.

Also, Prof. Ajibola, who urged CIBN to sustain and take the partnership with the university to another level, however, echoed the call to bring professionals to work with the university system for the training of undergraduates.

“Under the collaboration, we need to advance the frontiers of research in the university, as well as run the system in the like manner with the job market,” he added.

Source: New Telegraph

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