In 2015, shortly after his inauguration, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu established Abia State Education for Employment (E4E) programme to manage the Human Resource Capital of Abia State; providing competent skilled workforce to support the industrial base of the State and indirectly increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
To ensure sustainability, the Governor, through the E4E programme started developing 3 technical colleges - one in each senatorial zone. The colleges chosen were; Boys Technical College, Aba, Secondary Technical School, Afara, Umuahia and Government Technical College, Ania Ohafia.
In recognition of his efforts in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) in the State, the Federal Ministry of Education, assisted by the World Bank has provided a grant to enable the Governor complete the task he began in 2015. The project is called Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS). It will commence this year and has a duration of five and half years.
For the pilot project, 6 States were chosen from the 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Abia State is representing the South East. The 4 main components of the project are:
1. Partnership with the Industry for labour market orientation of public Technical Colleges;
2. Improved skills formation in the Informal Sector;
3. Increased availability of competent and motivated technical teachers and instructors; and
4. Strengthened regulatory environment and public management capacities.
A 2-day workshop was held by the Federal Ministry of Education in partnership with the World Bank on the 13th - 15th of January 2020 to progress this matter. Abia State was represented by the Principals of the 3 colleges, the Project Coordinator, one industry partner and the State Focal Person - The Director General of Abia State Education for Employment (E4E) Agency (Endi Ezengwa)
Mr. Ndubuisi Endi Ezengwa the Director General, Education for Employment Agency, had the opportunity of representing the Governor of Abia State at the BRAZIL AFRICA FORUM 2019 at Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Brazil has a lot to offer Africa. We have similar climate and vegetation. In his opening speech, the Vice President of Brazil said that Brazil and Africa are neighbours divided by one 'river' - the Atlantic hence the need for the development of mutually beneficial relationships.
Transfer of technology was one of the major issues discussed. Others included funding and nature of bilateral partnerships.
The event was graced by high profile organisations including IFAD, FAO, NEPAD, AGRF, AFREXIM BANK etc.
Ambassadors, MInisters and other dignitaries from various African countries also attended. The Nigerian delegation included the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Minister of State for Education, The Executive Secretary of TETFUND, etc.
2 major take aways for Abia State are;
1. Abia State will partner with FARA to develop Agripreneurs for agricultural products where we have comparative advantage. The main one being Cassava.
2. Abia State will work with major stakeholders in Agriculture to facilitate food production including processing centres in the State to minimise post harvest wastage
This week, the Director General will be visiting the foremost Agricultural University in Brazil where Abia youths will be trained. He will also travel to Brasilia to discuss the Governor's directives with the Nigerian Ambassador.
The Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines, Her Excellency, Ambassador Abibat Adekunbi Sonaike-Ayodeji commends The Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on the establishment of Abia State Education for Employment (E4E) Agency and encourages him to share this concept with other State Governors.
Speaking at a dinner where she hosted Mr Endi Ezengwa, at her residence in Manila, Philippines, Her Excellency, praised Dr Okezie Ikpeazu for establishing Abia State Education for Employment (E4E) Agency that is providing opportunities for the youths in the State. She encouraged the Governor to share this vision with his peers at Nigerian Governors Forum.
In 2015, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu established Abia State Education for Employment (E4E) programme to harness and maximise the human resource capital base of the State, grow the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector of the economy and improve the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The programme has grown to become an agency and has attracted two World Bank assisted projects to support its objectives.
One of the major objectives of the Agency since 2015, is the development of the State’s Technical Colleges in terms of physical infrastructure, quality of the teachers and adequacy of equipment for training. The Governor’s first intervention was in Boys Technical College, Aba where he fenced the walls, provided a dedicated transformer and restored electricity after seven years. He also refurbished existing buildings and completed new ones.
It is in recognition of all his efforts in this area, that the Federal Ministry of Education through the World Bank decided to support the development of at least three of these colleges to World Class standard through the Innovation Development Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS) project.
To ensure best outcomes, the Governor sent Mr Endi Ezengwa, the Director General of Abia State Education for Employment Agency, who is also the Focal Person for IDEAS project to engage the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) of the Philippines. The aim is to establish an exchange programme for the training of technical teachers in other to meet the acute shortage of requisite personnel in Technical Colleges in the State. TESDA is behind the success story of skilled Filipinos meeting various human resource needs of organisations all over the world.
The Nigerian Embassy in the Philippines, acting on the Governor’s request is ensuring that these objectives are met.
Within the context of FARA’s Holistic Empowerment for Livelihoods Program (HELP), a holistic model driven by global partnership to deliver livelihood by leveraging the South-South & Triangular Cooperation (SSTC), the Abia State of Nigeria has pledged to adopt FARA’s Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A). This was declared by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, the Executive Governor of Abia State on 24th September 2019, when Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA, paid him an official visit in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State.
During the meeting, FARA offered its network of experts to support the state’s attempt at transforming and diversifying its economy using its Innovation to Impact Pathways, by taking advantage of the entrepreneurial potentials of the state. Receiving a strategy document dubbed ‘Abia Agripreneurs’; developed by FARA, in which strategic commodities (cassava, ugwu, tomato, plantain and poultry) are prioritized for developing an action plan aligned to HELP, Dr. Ikpeazu thanked FARA and pledged to provide all the needed support in implementing the plan. It is expected that the strategy will usher in New Cassava for Economic Development in Abia State (NCEDA) and support the training of at least 150 Abians in FARA’s capacity development program-ARIFA, in the next 3 years.
Thanking FARA for the opportunity, Mr. Endi Ezengwa, the Coordinator of Education for the Employment (E4E) initiative, indicated that the opportunity for partnership with FARA represents one of the converging points in the agricultural sector, where the state already houses the biggest cattle market In Nigeria. This is also the vehicle through which key interventions in Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) as outlined in this document, may be implemented.
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