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Why vocational education is vital in Nigeria

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By Samuel Abimbola

Nigeria prioritises academic over practical skills, leading to unemployment.

Education is a fundamental right that every human being deserves. Without proper education, ignorance prevails. The goal of education is not just to increase knowledge but also to help people become valuable members of society. Nigeria’s Educational System has traditionally focused on academic qualifications rather than practical skills necessary for the workforce. This has led to a surge in youth Unemployment over the past decade, with former Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr. Chris Ngige warning that this trend is set to worsen in the coming years. Many university graduates lack the essential skills and competence needed to thrive in today’s society.

In order to address this issue, vocational education needs to be integrated into the school Curriculum. By equipping students with practical skills early on, they will be better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. Early childhood institutions should also consider incorporating Vocational Training into their curriculum. Contrary to popular belief, vocational education is not just for those who cannot afford a quality education. Everyone can benefit from acquiring hands-on skills that can lead to additional income in the long run. Vocational training programs, also known as skills acquisition programs, cover cooking, photography, barbing, and carpentry.

Investing in skills training is essential for economic growth.

For vocational education to make a significant impact in Nigeria, it is crucial that teaching and learning take place in an environment where all necessary tools are available. Investing in skills training is essential for economic growth, as a well-equipped workforce is vital for a nation’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. With the changing job landscape, vocational courses have become increasingly popular as they provide specific job-related skills and qualities that are in demand in the workforce. Employers highly look after students who complete vocational courses due to their practical knowledge and readiness to work. Also, it allows individuals to start their businesses, promoting entrepreneurship and reducing unemployment.

The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), and the Skills Development Fund (SDF) are key organisations in Nigeria that are dedicated to enhancing skills acquisition programs and training in the country. The NBTE oversees and regulates technical and vocational education institutions, ensuring they adhere to quality standards and align their programs with industry needs. Also, the ITF promotes skills development and vocational training through various programs and collaborations with industries to address skills gaps and equip individuals with the necessary practical skills for employment.

SDF funds vocational training in key sectors to enhance skills development.

Also, as a partnership between the government and the private sector, the SDF provides funding and support for vocational training initiatives in key sectors, improving vocational education quality and meeting labour market demands. These organisations work together to set standards, deliver training programs, and promote partnerships among various stakeholders in skills acquisition programs. By addressing the skills gap in the labour market and enhancing the quality of vocational education programs, these organisations play an important role in equipping individuals with the practical skills essential for success in today’s competitive job market in Nigeria.

Recently, Abiola Arogundade, the Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Technical Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education, has joined forces with Yikodeen, a leading figure in the leather goods industry, to unveil an innovative training program in shoemaking and Leather Crafting. The program seeks to equip aspiring Artisans with a diverse skill set covering essential aspects of leatherwork. From the fundamentals of footwear design to prototyping, pattern grading, upper preparation, footwear production, and materials knowledge, the curriculum provides participants with a solid foundation in the craft. This partnership underscores the president’s unwavering dedication to enhancing vocational education. By investing in programs like these, the government aims to unlock the potential of the country’s youth and promote Economic Growth through skill development and entrepreneurship.

Related Article: Nig. youths apathetic to skills acquisition

Lastly, the government needs to improve vocational Education in Nigeria to enhance the curriculum with modern training methodologies and Technology. This may involve incorporating hands-on learning experiences, industry partnerships, and internships to give students real-world skills and experience. Also, investing in well-equipped facilities, qualified instructors, and career guidance services can further enhance the country’s vocational education quality. By prioritising these initiatives, Nigeria can ensure its youth are better prepared for the workforce and contribute to the nation’s Economic Development.


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