The deliverables in the education sector have been pouring in for Nigerians over the last six months at a sustained tempo. This is a demonstration of the commitment of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to quality education service delivery.
To say that the quality impact of the present administration is most felt in the basic education sector is to merely emphasize the obvious. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan sees this sub-sector as a veritable tool for addressing the employment and economic needs of the people.
In the last seven months, the Minister of State for Education, Barr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, has been synergising with international development partners to ensure that a workable framework is developed to achieve the administration’s goals on technical and vocational education. He has had to explain to project implementation officials and stakeholders that the zeal with which the government is pursing the actualization of the Almajiri and girl-child education programmes should be replicated in the technical and vocational education sector to ensure the realization of the goals of FG.
In January this year, the minister led a FG delegation to Highbury College, Portsmouth, United Kingdom to firm up the modalities and implementation framework of the nation’s technical and vocational education programme.
The essence of developing this programme is to ensure that technical and vocational education becomes relevant to the nation and appreciated amongst the people, especially those seeking employment in an increasingly challenging economy.
Under the template, the existing Federal Science and Technical Colleges would be transformed into centres for the impartation of lifelong entrepreneurial skills into the youths. The government also aims at establishing technical and vocational centres of excellence in different parts of the country to serve as models to states and private proprietors, who are expected to key into the programme.
On Tuesday, September 17, Barr Wike and a team from Highbury College, Portsmouth met in Abuja to finalise the processes for the implementation of the partnership programme targeted at developing employment opportunities for Nigerian youths.
The principal of the UK school, Stella Mbubaegbu (MBE) and Deborah See, executive in charge, Curriculum Development and Quality Assurance, presented a programme for enhancing the facilities and curriculum of the new technical and vocational centres. They also presented a training schedule for teachers and facilitators at the existing Federal Science and Technical colleges.
The Principal of Highbury College had indicated during the occasion that her school would assist in Nigeria’s drive towards building a viable economic base to tackle its unemployment challenges. At that meeting, the Minister of State for Education stated that in line with the focus on employment generation for the youth through development of entrepreneurial skills, the FG had started the process of establishing new vocational and technical education centres across the country.
Wike said that new vocational training centres would be used as practical platforms to groom a viable workforce to develop the economy of the nation. He said that the new centres would train Nigerian youths in line with the employment needs of existing companies.
“We are partnering with Portsmouth Highbury College to develop these new vocational and technical colleges across the country because of the expertise of this school. We have been to the various campuses of the school in the United Kingdom and we are convinced that this partnership will achieve the desired result.
“We are further committed to capacity building for our existing technical and vocational teachers to assist us achieve the goals of practically training our children to make them employers of labour, instead of job seekers”, Wike said. With the planning process for the enhancement of vocational and technical education over, the next stage is that of implementing the programme.
The Federal Government has already started the funding of the revival of facilities, training equipment, workshops and laboratories in 22 existing Federal Science and Technical colleges. The additional investment in the provision of vocational and technical education training facilities underscores the significance the Jonathan government attaches to the creation of employment opportunities for Nigerian youths.
Aside the partnership that has been consummated with the Highbury College, Portsmouth, the federal government has entered a working relationship with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for the same purpose.
The essence of the current reform in the sector is to ensure that the existing and planned technical colleges in Nigeria transit from centres where theoretical learning take place to practical centres where Nigerian youths are groomed in viable technical trades, which would empower them to be players in the economy of the nation. The Minister of State for Education, is driving the new reform in the nation’s vocation and technical education sector to ensure Nigeria realizes her goal of using education to overcome all her development challenges.
Nwakaudu is media aide of Minister of State for Education