…seek emergency attention for technical, vocational training

The Presidency and the National Assembly have acknowledged the urgent need for functional technical and vocational education in Nigeria and resolved to collaborate on skills-driven education in the country towards raising employable citizenry.

This came to the fore at the unveiling of the House Committee on Polytechnics and Higher Technical Education at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education (TVEE), Madam Abiola Arogundade, in her keynote address at the event said action plans on changing the narrative of Nigerian education system from theoretical knowledge acquisition to skills empowerment are already mapped out.

She said President Bola Tinubu is committed to giving the important sector the attention it really deserves, one of which, according to her, is her appointment as SSA on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education.

“Some of the programmes we have lined up in revitalising the sector towards making our youth to be skillful and productive are establishing a Nigeria Institute of Vocational Studies, upgrading the infrastructure of secondary and tertiary vocation systems, developing a national vocational teacher training curriculum, as well as rebranding and restructuring polytechnics in the country,” Arogundade said.

“In achieving this,curriculum of learning should therefore be tailored towards skills acquisition so that products of education system could equip themselves with necessary skills and education to earn a living and, in fact, be employers of labour themselves,” she said.

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She stressed further that globally, technical, vocational and entrepreneurship education has assumed a place of priority in government policies as the foundation for employment creation, which the President Tinubu-led administration would take very seriously .

Earlier in his opening remarks at the event, the Chairman of the House Committee, Hon Isiaka Adegboyega, said the shift in global attention to skills acquisition is a wake-up call for Nigeria as far as national productivity and problem of unemployment are concerned.

“Attention to technical and vocational education is a matter of emergency in Nigeria today which requires urgent inputs and actions from all stakeholders,” he said.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Diket Plang, said the narrative of education in Nigeria should be changed from certificate to skills acquisition for the betterment of all.

He assured the gathering that both the Senate and the House of Representatives would collaborate for required legislations in that respect.

The Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, representatives of Minister of Education, rectors of polytechnics in Nigeria and Speaker of the House of Representatives all made submissions on the need for a paradigm shift in the nation’s education sector from theoretical knowledge to skills acquisition.

Madam Arogundade assured them that her office and, by extension, the Presidency, would be in the forefront of the paradigm shift through speedy implementation of programmes highlighted.