Attempts to define a common body of knowledge for real estate education have generated a lot of debate in recent years. Some people see estate management as an academic discipline, while others see it as an environmental discipline. In this article we discuss the relevance of real estate education to the practice of real estate in Nigeria.
In recent times there have been complaints over the quality of estate management graduates being sent into the labour market yearly, the shortfalls of the current curriculum and effectiveness of the current teaching techniques.
Real estate education has a big role to play in the production of professionals to meet the standard of what the society demands. The difficulty attached to the establishment of a common body of knowledge on real estate education has created a lot of controversies.
Questions have been raised by professionals as to the relevance and effectiveness of the current undergraduate curriculum to the practice of estate management in Nigeria and hence they are of the opinion that a lot could still be done to further improve the effectiveness of the current curriculum as regards real estate education.
Since knowledge comes about through both textual material and experience, comprehension and understanding are strengthened when students share their ideas and respond to colleagues’ reactions.
Truth be told, young graduates are ill equipped for the industry especially in these days of globalization. Many people feel that the problem is with the current curriculum, some blame it on the methods of teaching while others see the problem as a greater complex issue.
In addition, many people are advocating a major shift in traditional curriculum development towards industry based activities.
Real estate academic programs in the United States are often housed in the business schools and most often focused on finance and investment.
Real estate programs in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand focused on built environment, which is a broader program that encompasses physical as well as financial concepts and are housed outside the business schools.
Further to these, programs in Europe center on the physical aspects of real estate (construction technology and engineering).
Real estate profession in the U.S on the other hand, include brokerage, asset management, property management, construction, planning laws, investment, finance, government regulation, forestry and natural resources, architecture, housing policy and numerous other jobs relating to the consumption of space over time.
However, in Nigeria, the profession encompasses feasibility and viability appraisers, valuation, property management, agency, development and planning.
From the foregoing, one is tempted to conclude that there is a lack of consensus about the boundaries of real estate as a discipline. It can be assumed to be an ill-defined mutation that steals its identity from other disciplines such as finance and management that have well defined paradigms focusing research efforts and creating the desirable boundaries that give an academic/professional field its shape and substance.
A study with a target population of comprising of practicing estate surveyors, lecturers and final year students in the Department of Estate Management of three federal tertiary institutions found out that young graduates of estate management are deficient in valuation, agency, feasibility and viability appraisal, and property management.
For real estate to continue thriving long-term as a legitimate area of business school study, a strong curriculum that enhances students’ ability to compete and succeed in the marketplace is a necessity.
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