Group urges FG to improve technical, vocational education

By: Wisdom Acka

The Federal Government has been urged to formulate policies that would promote technical and vocational education in Nigeria.

Founder, Toddlers Haven foundation, Dr Bukola Dosunmu made the call, while speaking to newsman at the Public Advocacy and Awareness Lecture on Technical and Vocational Education Training and Launching of Thef- Abwantnu, in Gwagwalada, Abuja, on Tuesday.

Dr. Dosunmu explained that the foundation strategically picked her 50th birthday date and the theme: “Building a Mindset for Sustaining TVET in Nigeria” to educate the people of Gwagwalada, friends and associates on the significance of technical and vocational education.

His words: “Because the foundation has existed in Gwagwalada for close to 19 years, we have impacted many lives for many years and the school has a lot of visibility.”

“So, for today being my birthday I thought this is one of the best days that we can bring people together to listen to this conversation”, she said.

Dosunmu, who expressed concern over lack of a National Skill Policy in the country, however, said that the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) was doing a lot in that direction.

According to her, “the Federal Government needs to do more in the area of funding technical and vocational education training. Government needs to also do more in supporting NBTE to ensure that Nigeria has a National Skills Policy”.

“There is no National Skill Policy for Nigeria and we know that NBTE is doing a lot with government regarding this,” she noted.

She stressed that I f we have skills policy, it will dictate what to do and that will flow down to every sector that has one thing or the other to do with education.

“National Education Development Council has a role to play but then a policy frame above is going to guide whatever they are going to do.”

Dosunmu emphasised the need for government to provide enabling environment to support organisations, the private sector and the employer’s of labour in the task to promote this very critical sector.

According to her, the Skills Councils needed a lot of support in terms of developing the National Occupational Standard and many other things.

“We have to get to the roots of the policies to see how it will be able to impact on every programmes that we are doing in the educational system in Nigeria.

“The general perception of the society towards vocational education is not something that you can just knock on their doors and get them together”, she lamented.

Earlier, Executive Secretary, NBTE, Prof. Idris Bugaje observed that the next generation need education and skills development that should go beyond increasing basic literacy rates.

Prof. Bugaje who was represented by Mrs. Hajara Abdulkadir of the Board’s Kaduna office, said that skills development would assure dynamic and multifaceted knowledge-building at higher and tertiary levels, including technical and vocational education as well as training (TVET).

He called on attitudinal change: “There is a need to change our approaches, attitudes and priorities concerning TVET. We must nurture a highly educated and skilled population that can imbibe technology and build infrastructure that is indispensable for progress and wages an effective war on mass unemployment.”

He added that the National Skill Qualification Frame work (NSQF) was approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2012 and in 2017 was launched marking a turning point in Federal Governments Skill Development Policy.

The NSQF is a FGN approved system for the development, classification and the recognition of skills knowledge, understanding of competencies acquired by individuals, irrespective of where and how the training or skill was acquired.

Special Guest of Honour and Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rashid Na’Allah, urged the Federal Government to increase investment on Technical and vocational education by establishing more Technical Colleges, Schools and institutes in the country.

Represented by the University’s Director, Centre for Community Development, Dr. Matthew Dada, Na’Allah decried limited access to technical education in the country.

According to him, Nigeria only boasts only 21 Federal Technical Colleges, thereby limiting number of enrolment.