Graduate Employability and Communication Skills: An Investigation of Nigerian Graduates’ Proficiencies and Areas of Deficiencies in Written English

Toyese Najeem Dahunsi


Nigeria is a West African country with English as second and official language. In this study, the proficiency levels of graduates of Nigeria’s higher educational institutions in English were investigated against ever-rising speculations that such graduates were unemployable because they do not have good communication and other employability skills. Essays written by 150 graduate job applicants were used for the research. Error Analysis was used for the identification and categorisation of errors in each essay, using grammar, lexis, punctuation and content as major categories. The first group identified (67%) had Low Proficiency Level, with poor knowledge of English grammar and grammatical applications; low vocabulary and high deficiencies in lexical selections; poor skills of punctuation, capitalisation, spelling, paragraphing and lettering; and shallow knowledge of common issues. The second group (23%) had High Proficiency Level, having fewer errors of grammar, lexis, punctuation and content relevance, adequacy, cohesion and coherence. The third group (10%) had Very High Proficiency Level, with a better mastery, understanding and applications of grammatical, lexical, punctuation and associated composition principles. A poor performance carry-over pattern in English at secondary school level was observed. This calls for serious remedial intervention by Government and all stakeholders to improve graduate employability.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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