By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
Stakeholders in education sector have said there was need to scale up youth development through Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TVET) in a bid to tackle unemployment menace in the country.
They said TVET plays prominent roles in the reduction of employment among the teeming youths and economic challenges currently bedeviling the country.
The experts stated these at a workshop on Revitalizing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for National Development, organised by National Centre For Technology Management (NACETEM), held in Enugu on Wednesday.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Director-General, NACETEM, Prof Okechukwu Ukwuoma, explained that TVET is an aspect of education, centred on acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge.
Ukwuoma hinted that the primary objective of the workshop was to discuss the challenges bedeviling TVET in Nigeria with a view to arriving at a holistic and sustainable solution; and provide a platform for networking, linkages and collaboration among TVET stakeholders and practitioner.
“The significance of TVET cannot be overemphasised. Hence, the need to continuously engage it to drive development.
“The focus of TVET on practical skills distinguishes it as an education that not only prepares students for the global stage but also foster better relationships between and/or among all involved.
“As part of our intentionality about deploying technical and vocational education to ameliorate unemployment conundrum in the country, NACETEM, as an Agency of government, had in the last 6 months organised similar workshop at the Southwest, specifically in Ibadan, Oyo State.
“This shows our deliberateness in reaching out to all the six geopolitical zones of the country in revamping technical and vocational education in Nigeria as there is no substitute to skill acquisition in achieving sustainable development.
“Today, it is the turn of the Southeast and nearby zones to see how pivotal TVET is to creating wealth and gainful employment in the country. Let me make it abundantly clear here that no part of the country will be left out in ensuring that TVET takes its prideful place in the drive towards sustainable development!
Also Speaking, Mrs MaryAnne Ngozi Onyejekwe, Zonal Coordinator of National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), South-West Zonal Office, Lagos described TVET as a critical element of basic education that has the capacity to educate and create jobs for our teeming youths.
According to Onyejekwe, TVET offers a leeway for industrialization, a transit from a consumer state to a producer state.
She said :”Our economy today is fraught with several challenges including high youth unemployment, excessive dependence on crude oil, a skewed balance of trades in favour of foreign imports, and general avoidance of locally made products. A major challenge for Nigeria is the development of her capacity to learn, adopt and diffuse existing new knowledge and technologies.
“It is therefore critical to train and re-train local manpower to fully participate and adequately execute projects and contracts in the country. We must be able to use, not only our heads but also, our hands to do whatever we need to do. Local content development is imperative!
“It is a well placed strategy for equipping our population with practical, modern, occupational and skill based capacities. This will go a long way in helping the country to create jobs, grow local industries, enhance science, technology and innovation (STI), conserve foreign reserves, encourage SMEs, and improve domestic incomes. Hence globally, TVET is widely recognized as a vital driving force for the socio-economic growth and technological development of nations.
In his speech, Sir Obi Kama, Honourable Commissioner, Enugu State Ministry of Science and Technology said the unemployment menace in the country is solvable by way of Science and Technology Education.
“The solution now is to get abreast with the Technical and Vocational Training varieties available in contemporary Technical and Vocational Skills acquisition programs.
“This is hence the way to go in salvaging the youths from mass unemployment. This is achievable with reviewing our existing curriculum in Schools towards emphasizing the inculcating of these Trades and Skills for self-reliance.” He said.
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