Federal Government said, on Thursday, that it has realized that, over the years, Nigeria education system produced graduates with no generic and essential skills needed for global opportunities and responsibilities.
It said that curricula used to teach in schools, particularly tertiary institutions was largely responsible, in addition to students’ poor interest in marketable skills and other requirements of the workplace.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the National Technical and Vocational Education and Training Conference (TVET) in Abuja, on Thursday, lamented the fact that many people are fast loosing interest in TVET which could have devastating effect on the economy.
The conference which was sponsored by German Government, SKYE and other relevant stakeholders was meant to provide opportunity for all stakeholders within the TVET sector to jointly work on TVET reform process in order to provide better vocational education for the young people in Nigeria.
He said: “Nigeria requires urgent and decisive actions to reposition TVET for technological advancement, because the rapid industrialization of a number of countries such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Brazil and many others has been as a result of a well-articulated TVET policy aimed at developing relevant human capital.
“One of the urgent steps taken by Nigerian government in collaboration with the World Bank towards bridging the skill gaps in the curricula of our institutions in order to make Nigerian graduates nationally and globally employable was the establishment of the Innovation Development and Effectiveness on the Acquisition Skills (IDEAS) Project.
“The IDEAS project was aimed at enhancing quality and relevance of skills development in Technical Colleges, improve traditional apprenticeship training in the informal sector, increase the availability of competent and motivated technical capacities and instructors for skills development and enhance the regulatory framework and public management capacity for skills development.
“The project has four components which are Technical College Intervention, Technical Teachers Training and Production, Informal Apprenticeship Training and Project Management, Coordination and Execution.
“Nigeria is still faced with the challenges of skills gaps, especially in the area of technical and vocational fields which need to be addressed adequately. These challenges did not come overnight, but as a result of long time neglect and poor management.”
Meanwhile, the Head of Programme, Skills Development for Youth Employment (SKYE), Hans Ludwig Bruns, in his remarks, said that Nigeria is faced with tremendous challenges in terms of sustainable job creation and productivity.
He said: “the high number of unemployment and underemployment have become major socioeconomic challenges over the past decade. It’s connected to the issue of skills development, which is interlinked to the challenges of adjusting TVET policies, regulations, and implementation.
“High quality and relevant vocational education and training is a prerequisite for economic development, hence the theme of conference ‘repositioning TVET through policies and legislative options’ is a high priority in the reform agenda in many countries, and Nigeria is not an exception.”
He urged conference participants to channel their discussions towards making TVET the springboard for the employability of youths and ultimately enhancing the economic growth of Nigeria.