Olajide Stephen Billy

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Literacy has been one of the greatest concerns of the world for a long time. Countries devote so much of their resources to it because it drives development. Literacy has now gone beyond the ability to read and write; it includes numeracy skills and inter-cultural awareness. Paradoxically, in its most functional form, literacy would still be far from being full, because no individual can possess it absolutely. Literacy appears to be such skills as would make the individual grounded enough to become an employer of labour, or be gainfully employed - someone that thinks rationally and critically enough to make measurable impact on  humanity. Higher education in particular has been expected to guarantee functional literacy because of its (higher education’s) tripartite mandate for teaching, research and service. Literacy at that level is expected to ensure a perpetually harmonious link between skills acquisition and the realities of the labour market. Unfortunately however, especially in emerging economies, there is a wide gap between knowledge brands and employability indices; so many unemployable graduates are churned out yearly from the Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria. Apart from the inadequacy of available employment opportunities, those itching to be employed are poorly skilled. The predicament of the Nigerian graduate appears an indictment of higher education. Thus, this paper set out to make a case for invigorating higher education in Nigeria by enhancing its literacy content. The paper discussed the nature and scope of literacy before assessing its place in higher education curriculum. It also examined the different dimensions of employability as a frontline item in labour discourse. It concluded by suggesting how to make the literacy component of higher education relevant to employer needs.

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