By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu says the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 will be a mirage without a solid Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
He stated this on Thursday at a 2-day TVET Conference organized by the Skills Development for Youth Employment (SKYE), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Abuja.
The Conference, with the theme: “Repositioning TVET through Policy and Legislative Options”, was organised in collaboration with African Union, AUDU-NEPAD and Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA).
According to the Minister, the education system of any country is too strategic and sensitive to be treated like any other sector.
He pointed out that through the conference, GIZ has created another opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the road travelled over the past decade and to plan for the journey ahead especially in the context of skill development for the citizenry through sustainable policies and legislation.
He said the conference is taking place at a time when the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, is taking a bold step on human capital development for the generation of relevant skills in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“The attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030 will be a mirage if it is not hinged on solid TVET system. We, as the policy makers, face a choice”, he said.
Adamu further said, “The choice is whether we have the courage and political will to chart a better course for the educational advancement of our beloved country. And the decision cannot be delayed any longer.
“I earnestly appeal to the participants at this Conference to channel their discussions towards making TVET the springboard for the employability of our youths and ultimately enhancing the economic growth of our dear country, Nigeria.”
The Minister noted that the education ministry has taken far reaching measures on policy formulation and programme implementation to provide recipe for the youths to survive in today’s harsh economic environment by being job creators instead of “certificate-carrying job-seekers.”
According to him, the National Council on Education has approved the mandatory inclusion of trade subjects in secondary school curriculum and entrepreneurship education in tertiary education curriculum.
He explained that Nigeria has not demonstrated the required political will for successful implementation of the policy on entrepreneurship education.
“Presently, most of our schools lack competent teachers and instructional materials for effective handling of the 37 Trade subjects which are already being offered as compulsory subjects at Senior School Certificate Examinations since 2013.
“Worst still, the entrepreneurship education courses being offered in many Tertiary Institutions could not energize the students’ entrepreneurial spirit and mindset for self-employment,” he added.
In his comments at the event, the Head of Programme, Skills Development for Youth Employment, Mr Hans Ludwig Bruns stated that this is the right time for all relevant stakeholders within the TVET sector to jointly work on the TVET reform process.
He said TVET reform process is needed to provide better vocational education for the young people in Nigeria.
He said, “Nigeria is currently facing tremendous challenges in terms of sustainable job creation and productivity. The high numbers of unemployment and underemployment have become major socio economic challenges over the past decade.
“It is connected to the issue of skills development, which is interlinked to the challenges of adjusting TVET policies, regulations, and implementation.
“It cannot be over-emphasised that high quality and relevant vocational education and training is a prerequisite for economic development.
“The topic is a high priority in the reform agenda in many countries and Nigeria is not an exception. It is worthy to note that the Government of Nigeria has taken important steps forward in establishing the National Skills Council under the chairmanship of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the objective to develop skills for the nation through TVET.
“However, challenges are still remaining – Public education providers need to make education and training more relevant to the demand of the private sector. The momentum of reform to achieve good results is now and will need rapid steps to provide quality vocational education to the high number of young people who are already or will be joining vocational education and training in the coming years”, he added.