On the 26th of October 2017, NABTEB held a symposium on ‘TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training), a veritable tool for sustainable manpower development and increased access to higher education: The Journey So Far’ to mark its 25th year anniversary.
Prof. Anthony Anwukah, the Honorable Minister of State for Education was the Guest of Honor. There were other notable dignitaries including Prof. Is-haq Olarewaju Oloyede, the Registrar/CEO of JAMB and Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan who presented a paper on ‘Enhancing the Quality of Students of Technology in Nigerian Universities through Relevant TVET Programmes at the Basic and Post Basic Education Level’. Our host was Prof. (Mrs) Ifeoma M. Isiugo-Abanihe, the hardworking and resourceful Registrar/CEO of NABTEB.
I was asked to present a paper on ‘The Contributions of Skills Training Centres in the Delivery of TVET and Implementation of Social Policy in Nigeria’. The summary of my presentation is as follows;
• National Bureaus of Statistics 2016 figures reveal that 15.2 million youths out of 38.2 million Youth Labour Workforce (18-35) are either unemployed or underemployed. That represents 42.4 per cent.
• Many countries wish they had such human resource capital within that age range to drive their commerce and industries and improve their economies.
• Only 30% of those who took the UTME to gain admission in universities will be successful in 2017. Only 600,000 out of 1,736,000 candidates. What will happen to the remaining 1.1 million?
• Innovative approaches for TVET such as Abia State Education for Employment (E4E) programme and Innoson Kiara Academy are necessary to ‘mop up’ these youths for obvious reasons.
• The Modular Trade Certificates of NABTEB and NBTE as well as the Unit Certification system of the National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF) will enable these youths to be assessed in a specific trade/skills area during Work Based Learning programmes like those mentioned above and is key to successful development of our human resource capital.
One of the major points in the communiqué at the end of the symposium is the need for universities to accept NABTEB results for admissions. The public service was also encouraged to give due recognition to staff with NABTEB certificates.
In summary, it is obvious that many Nigerians still look down on non-university qualifications which actually is the key to our national development. When TVET is strengthened and there are visible financial benefits for graduates who are truly competent in their respective fields, the perceptions will change. The onus is on all stakeholders to ensure this happens.
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