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Technical And Vocational Education, Tool For Economic Development —Experts

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By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo

The National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM) has identified Technical and Vocational Education and Training as an important factor in Nigeria’s economic development.

Stakeholders who spoke at a workshop on Redirecting Technical And Vocational Education Training(TVET) for local content capacity and wealth creation in Nigeria held at Ibadan Business School (IBS), in Ibadan viewed TVET as a tool to enhance productivity and reduce poverty in Nigeria.

NACETEM is an agency of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology saddled with the responsibility of providing critical knowledge support in the area of STI management through policy research, capacity building, science, technology and innovation advisory services, databank of STI resources, among others.

Speaking at a two-day workshop, one of the resource persons, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board posited that TVET is an invaluable tool for the industrial and economic development, diversification, and transformation of any economy as it drives all sectors of the economy.

Engr Wabote said since TVET has not been given adequate attention in Nigeria, the quest to acquire University or tertiary education has overwhelmed many Nigerian youths to the detriment of technical and vocational education.

“In many instances, it is observed that some of our University or tertiary institutions lack intensive practical/hands-on training, and the curricula are largely not in alignment with industry/organizational needs and the rapidly changing global technological development and smart innovations.

“This explains the huge gap in technical and vocational skilled manpower in Nigeria. To close this gap, we must promote and support TVET for the benefit of Nigerians and the Nigerian economy.

“To demonstrate our unflinching commitment towards the development of technical and vocational skills, NCDMB facilitated and sponsored a study to identify existing technical and vocational schools and their priority areas, capacity gap, areas of need, skills` gap in the Oil and Gas Industry, and priority areas for intervention. In line with the study, NCDMB is driving and implementing direct intervention programmes to drive and support the development of TVET.

“The first beneficiaries include Government Technical College Abak, Akwa Ibom State; Government Technical College Amoli, Enugu State, among others.

“We will remain committed and strategic in our interventions towards TVET since technical, vocational, and entrepreneurship/enterprise skills are invaluable to the creation of massive employment and sustainable economic development and diversification. Our strategic model includes the Standardization of the curriculum. Development of Nigerian Oil and Gas Occupational Standards, Facilities/infrastructure development and institutional strengthening
Training and re-training of Nigerians and instructors/lecturers in line with globally competitive best practices.”

He further noted that NCDMB`s commitment towards TVET intends to, “Address gaps in vocational and entrepreneurship skills among Nigerian youths, drive employment, enterprise development and value creation in the Oil and Gas Industry and its linkage sectors, address youths` redundancy and loss of the economic value of human capital needed to drive economic growth and diversification, deepen the linkage and inter-dependence between the Oil and Gas Industry and other sectors of the Nigerian economy, as well as complement and intensify the Federal Government`s efforts towards job creation and diversification of the Nigerian economy.”

In his welcome address, Engineer Professor Okechukwu Ukwuoma, The Director-general/Chief Executive Officer, National Centre For Technology Management (NACETEM), described the workshop as timely, saying it would contribute to the objective of wealth creation using science, technology and innovation as a pilot.

Prof Ukwuoma said the workshop could not have come at a better time than now when the current administration’s objective for job and wealth creation is at the all-time high!.

The choice of the workshop according to NACETEM Chief Executive Officer, was to point out the primary objective of TVET to assist the federal and state education authorities in their effort to revitalize, reform and expand the provision of skills, vocations, science and technology to meet the nation’s present and future socio-economic needs.

In his words, “This workshop is seen as a way of reaching out to the teeming public, particularly in capacity building and advisory services. The Agency is hopeful that the invited stakeholders and members of the public here present will contribute significantly to the overall success of this workshop. While we look forward to this, I welcome you heartily to this workshop.

“Organizing a national workshop on Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) is a conscious step towards stemming the issues of joblessness, unemployment, restiveness, among other vices which hinder growth and development of a nation.

“This workshop will look at issues such as ‘developing industry-ready technically skilled manpower for sustainable industrial development’, ‘redirecting technical and vocational curriculum and content optimization in tangent with the global trends’, ‘harnessing innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities in the Local Content Act and Presidential Executive Order 5’, among others.

“All these are geared towards showcasing how to tap into or leverage on the nation’s abundant local resources using technical and vocational education. This workshop is a further attempt to consolidate on the yielded dividends and to continue to stress the need to embrace technical and vocational education as a veritable tool of driving and achieving sustainable development.”

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