With the dawn of the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution, computer science education was introduced not only as a full degree/diploma and certificate programmes in Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, as well as at other levels of the Nigeria education system, but it has also been made a mandatory requirement for every Nigerian university graduate at least at the appreciation level, so as to produce graduates that can fit into the workplace and be competitive in the dynamic, fast-paced global information economy. The move as brilliant as it is was based on an academic framework that is not only outdated but counter productive, as it led to the production of graduates of poor quality that can not fit into the marketplace, let alone competing with their counterparts from other parts of the world. The reason for this is not far-fetched.
Apart from non periodic review of the curriculum to meet changing requirements of the time, the teaching facilities (labs, library, PCs, software, books et cetera), teaching methodology and available expertise was not only inadequate but below standards as obtained in advanced countries.
Computer science, as a specialized field of discipline in the physical and applied sciences require training in diverse fields apart from general sciences like mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry and biology. A computer scientist is expected to have demonstrable competence in the field of software development, database administration, networking and communication systems, computer engineering and maintenance, Operating Systems programming, information management and security et cetera. To achieve the above stated aim, Nigerian universities introduce their computer science students to structured computer programming languages like BASIC, FORTRAN, PASCAL and COBOL that are not only limited in their scope of applications but also obsolete.
As a result the students’ ability to perfect their act in the critical field of software development, which has fetched India billions of dollars through software job outsourcing by governments and multinational corporations, is seriously hampered as they are not taught with industry-standard object-oriented programming languages like JAVA, C, C++, VB/VB.NET et cetera, that are the norm in other climes. Coupled with this is the non-standardization of the operating system used for teaching the course, leading to a situation where computer science students are taught with desktop operating systems like Microsoft Windows XP Professional, instead of network operating systems like UNIX, LINUX and its variants like Fedora Core Release 5 et cetera.
The importance of computer science education as a tool for social, cultural, economic, political and technological emancipation, empowerment, and advancement cannot be overemphasized. Asian and Western nations recognizing this strategic importance invested heavily in IT education decades ago and are currently reaping the benefit of their investments. Without putting in place the right academic framework in the form of IT education curriculum, necessary facilities and expertise it would not have been possible. Today, most IT jobs by governments and multinational corporations in banking and finance, insurance, energy, aerospace and aviation, oil and gas, defence systems et cetera are outsourced to India because of its quality IT manpower, netting billions of dollars in the process.