Vocational skills critical to nation’s development – Minister

Vocational skills critical to nation’s development – Minister
United Bank for Africa

The Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, says that access to Technical and Education and Training (TVET) skills is critical to the development of any nation.

Anwukah, who was represented by Prof. Godswill Obioma, Special Adviser to the minister, stated this at the 2nd National Students Vocational Skills Competition in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, functional education propels a nation to the path of progress and development which underscores the essence of TVET.

He added that skills in TVET hold the key to the profile of the country’s industrial sector as it had been proven in other emerging economies.

He said that Vocational Enterprise Institutions and the Innovation Enterprise Institutions were launched in 2009 to ensure unfettered access to TVET.

He, therefore, urged stakeholders to come up with actionable blueprint on how to reverse the misconception and apathy of Nigerians towards TVET.

“The purpose for this was to equip secondary school leavers and working adults with vocational and employability skills to meet the increasing demands for technical manpower by various sectors.

“To date, 88 proprietors of Enterprise Institutions across the federation have been issued licences to operate,” he said.

Anwukah explained that the curriculum of technical colleges had been reviewed to incorporate entrepreneurship education to ensure students learn trade courses before graduating.

“The skills they have acquired will make them to become self-reliant and employers of labour.

“Students in conventional schools are also made to offer at least one vocational subject at the senior secondary school levels,” he said.

The minister also said that the ministry had put strategies in place to strengthen entrepreneurial education by organising exhibitions and innovative programmes as a window for talent hunting.

He said that the ministry had also embarked on a 2-day needs assessment of technical equipment, facilities, teachers and students in 39 selected science and technical colleges nationwide.

He said the assessment was aimed at improving efficiency and quality of technical education in Nigeria.

Mr Joel Ojo, Director, Technical Science Education, said TVET was aimed at empowering young Nigerians with specialised skills to make them employable and employers of labour.

He said that the ministry deemed it fit to initiate skills competition among Federal Science and Technical Colleges to raise the status and standard of vocational skills and training.

He said that it was observed at the 3rd UNESCO conferences on TVET, held in Shanghai, China, that vocational skills competition among technical and vocational colleges had helped innovation and creativity among students.

“Countries were advised at the conference to encourage such healthy competitions among their students.

“It was in agreeing with the above decision that the Ministry of Education approved the inclusion of the conduct of National Students Vocational Skills Competition in 2013,” he said.

Ojo explained that the competition would afford the students the opportunity to showcase their products, out of which the best product would be selected and motivated accordingly.

Newsverge reports that out of the 39 selected schools, nine schools came top for the grand finale of the competition.

They are Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC) Ohanso, Abia, FSTC Awka, FSTC Yaba, Lagos State, FSTC Doma, Nasarawa State and FSTC Uromi, Edo.

Others are FSTC Dayi, Katsina State, FSTC Zuru, Kebbi State, FSTC Akwa Ibom and FSTC Shiroro, Niger, FSTC.