This paper examined university education and poverty alleviation as mechanisms for enhancing youth development in Nigeria. It is observed that illiteracy and poverty are interrelated and that functional education is one of the most efficient ways to empower the youth and this is supposed to be got in the university. University education is presupposed to develop the three domains (cognitive, psychomotor and affective). Most importantly, the development of the psychomotor domain, in the era of economic recession and uneasy accessibility to white collar jobs. This domain gives room to skill acquisition, self-reliance and employment of other people in the society. Poverty alleviation programme is supposed to reduce unemployment, make the youth self-dependent, so that they can make positive contributions to the society. The questions then arise, is university education meeting up with the demands of the youths in relation to skill acquisition. Is poverty alleviation programmes youth oriented or focused? Upon this background, the paper examined the concepts of university education, poverty alleviation and youths in Nigeria context. Effective approached to the issue of empowerment to reduce poverty among Nigerian youth were discussed. Some of the recommendations made were that enhancing youth through combined literacy education with skilled training will reduce poverty among the youth. University education geared to poverty alleviation should not limit itself to the regular cognitive domain alone but to functional education that will pragmatically affect lives of Nigerian citizens.
Key words: Education, poverty alleviation, youth development.
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