Declare State of Emergency on Skill Acquisition and Technical Education in Nigeria — NASENI BOSS.

The importance of Technical and Vocational education in nation building, especially concerning skills development and job creation, came to the fore today in Abuja as the Federal Government was called upon to solve the challenges facing youth unemployment by declaring a state emergency in the sector.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna who made this call at the opening ceremony of Kaduna Polytechnic Alumni Association’s Critical Stakeholders Retreat also said that calling a state of emergency on skill Acquisition and Technical Education in Nigeria was the first step, adding that, “something must be done to revive and upgrade craft schools as quality education comes from technical colleges”.

According to Prof. Haruna, it is important and mandatory to have technical schools in any country that wants to develop technologically. “This factor is what makes the country technologically viable and addresses youth restiveness and unemployment.

“We must declare a state of emergency for skill acquisition and technical education, that is where you acquire knowledge and modern trends in education. Students need to know what is obtainable in order to meet international standards. Lecturers also need to upgrade their teaching skills in order to meet up with international standards”.

In his paper presentation titled: “Repositioning Kaduna Polytechnic to Deliver 21st Century Employment Skills : Progress, Challenges and the Way Forward, the Rector of Kaduna State Polytechnic, Professor Idris Bugaje said he was not in support of calls to convert Kaduna Polytechnic into university as doing this would reduce the standards set by the founding fathers, adding that rather they should be involved in degree awarding programmes”

He noted that skills have become the global labour currency of the 21st century economies while noting that skills mismatch are prevalent today in Nigeria leading to unemployed graduates while industries have abundance skill gaps.

On the challenges facing the Technical and vocational education in Nigeria, the Rector highlighted that poor recognition of the role of skills in the local and global economies, especially in job creation is one. “Vocational training has been neglected all along by polytechnics across Nigeria. Only Technical Education is done in most polytechnics, and there is this wrong notion that polytechnics should migrate to become universities”.

On how vocational and technical education could be promoted in the polytechnics, Prof. Bugaje recommended that the Federal and State Governments, and the private sectors should provide higher budgets for Technical and Vocational Education for skills acquisition rather than promoting mainly university degrees in the nation’s educational system “Senate on 16th December 2019 received request for 18 universities (not 1 polytechnic) upgrade loan worth 30b US Dollars. Also licenses approved in 2021 for new universities and not one polytechnic. This shall lead to more unemployed degree graduates on the streets, with loan hanging over us”, he emphasized.

The last time the Alumni Association organized such retreat was over a decade ago. The highpoint of the event yesterday was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and Kaduna Polytechnic for the institutions to collaborate in the areas of Research and Technological Education as part of the programme of events. The Executive Vice Chairman/ Chairman Prof. Engr. Mohammed Sani Haruna signed on behalf of the Agency while the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic Prof. Idris Bugaje on behalf of the polytechnic.

Chinyere Amalu P.Ekwuazi
Asst.Chief Information Officer.