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WB commit $200m to Nigeria vocation learning

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By Usman Oladimeji

The fund was earmarked for a World Bank IEDSA in Nigerian education.

In a recent development, the World Bank made a substantial commitment to advancing technical and vocational learning in Nigeria with a $200 million commission. The announcement was made in Abuja during the inauguration of the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) framework by Olatunde Adekola, the World Bank’s Senior Education Specialist in Nigeria. He said the fund was earmarked for a World Bank-supported initiative in Nigerian education called Innovative Development for Effectiveness and Skills Acquisition.

During his remarks at the event hosted by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in collaboration with a private enterprise, Adekola spoke on the fund’s purpose in aiding the Nigerian government to strengthen technical and vocational education. It was reported that this program was an initiative of the Federal Government to help three technical institutions in each of the six geopolitical zones helping them become recognized as Centres of Excellence. The states of Edo in the South-South, Benue in the North-Central, Kano State in the Northwest, Gombe State in the Northeast, Ekiti in the Southwest, and Abia in the Southeast were selected for their respective zones.

Nigeria’s wealth might increase with the new innovations.

According to him, the funding will cover four theme areas and be implemented over four years with the second stage onset.  Tackling the skills shortage in Nigeria would need a focus on technical and vocational education. However, institutionalizing apprenticeships require joint efforts from state and non-state actors in order to be adequately implemented. Adekola said that Nigeria’s wealth might be increased through the introduction of new innovations that would capitalize on the country’s large pool of human talent.

Adekola emphasized the need for digital literacy, gender parity, and accessibility as top priorities for the Internet Technology Forum (ITF) and other stakeholders. Speaking at the event, ITF Director-General Mr. Joseph Ari said it was part of a larger effort to use skill development to combat poverty and unemployment and boost economic growth. He explained that the framework which is also the policy document, was designated with NATS’s adoption and institutionalization in mind. Strong vision formulation set NATS on the course that led to the current policy.

The framework could significantly decrease unemployment.

As part of the agency effort, the Reviewed Vision for Mandate Actualisation was implemented in 2016 at the onset of the current ITF administration. Subsequently, in 2022, ITF shifted its emphasis to new indices that would increase employment and wealth development through modern training practices. The Director-General also noted that cooperation and knowledge exchange had been formed with businesses that accentuate apprenticeship, such as those in Germany’s Dual System, the UK’s Crown Agents, Brazil’s Senai, and Israel’s GIMI. As a result, it is crucial to develop a new approach for progressing forward.

In addition, the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella organization of the Organized Private Sector, and the Skills for Prosperity, UK, became accessible, guaranteeing the completion of crucial steps like the launch and sensitization of stakeholders, framework creation, and validation. Mr. Ari said that the framework, if implemented, could significantly decrease unemployment while still providing for trainees. He continued by saying the framework would make it easier to get training funding and would standardize the process by which skills were acquired and certified. Mr. Ari contends that the framework will decrease crime while increasing the number of M&Ss.

Lagos, Kaduna state gov’t affirmed steadfast support.

Ms. Sybil Ferris, Team Lead of the private business and the technical partner for the creation of the framework, said in her remarks that pilot training and skills acquisition programs were carried out in the states of Lagos and Kaduna. Among other benefits, some trainees in the two states were given full-time employment. In response to the development, both state governments have affirmed steadfast support for the institutionalization of apprenticeship. Meanwhile, parties such as the British High Commission, NECA, and others in their goodwill letter commended ITF for the job done in standardizing the apprenticeship system.

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