Vocational education: Foundation tasks FG on national skills policy

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Bukola Dosunmu

Dr Bukola Dosunmu, the Founder of Toddlers Haven Educational Foundation has called on the Federal Government to develop a National Skill Policy to enhance technical and vocational education training in the country.

Dosunmu made the call at Public Advocacy and Awareness Lectures on Technical and Vocational Education Training and Launching of Thef-ABWANTNU, held at Gwagwalada Area Council, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The public lecture with the theme: “Building a mindset for sustaining TVET in Nigeria” was organised by Dr Bukola Dosunmu to mark her 50th birthday.

She said the foundation decided to strategically pick her birthday to educate the people of Gwagwalada, friends and associates on the significance of vocational education.

“Because the foundation has existed in Gwagwalada for close to 19 years. We have impacted for so many years and the school has lots of visibility.

“So, for today being my birthday I thought this is one of the best days that we can bring people together to be part and listen to this conversation.”

Dosunmu, who expressed concerned over lack of a National Skill Policy in the country, however, said that the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) was doing a lot in that direction.

“The Federal Government needs to do more in the area of funding technical and vocational education training. Government needs to also do more in supporting NBTE to ensure that Nigeria has a National Skills Policy.

“There is no National Skill Policy for Nigeria and we know that NBTE is doing a lot with government regarding this.

“If we have a skills policy is going to dictate and flow down to every sector that has one thing or the other to do.

“National Education Development Council has a role to play but then a policy frame above is going to guide whatever they are going to do.”

Similarly, Dosunmu emphasised the need for the government to provide an enabling environment to support organisations, the private sector and the employers of labour.

According to her, the Sectors Skills Councils need a lot of support in terms of developing the National Occupational Standard and many other things.

“So, we have to get to the roots of the policies to see how it will be able to impact on every programmes that we are doing in the educational system in Nigeria.

“The general perception of the society towards vocational education is not something that you can just knock on their doors and get them together.”

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NBTE, Prof. Idris Bugaje, said the next generation needs education and skills development that should go beyond increasing basic literacy rates.

Represented by Mrs Hajara Abdulkadir of NBTE office, Kaduna, Bugaje said skills development would assure dynamic, multifaceted knowledge-building at higher and tertiary levels, including Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“There is a need to change our approaches, attitudes and priorities concerning TVET.

“We must nurture a highly educated and skilled population that can imbibe technology and build infrastructure that is indispensable for progress and wages an effective war on mass unemployment.”

Bugaje said that the National Skill Qualification Frame work (NSQF) was approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2012 and was launched in 2017, masrking a turning point in federal governments Skill Development Policy.

“The NSQF is a FGN approved system for the development, classification and the recognition of skills knowledge, understanding of competencies acquired by individuals irrespective of where and how the training or skill was acquired.”

Also, the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul-Rashid Na’Allah, urged the Federal Government to increase investment on Technical and vocational education by establishing more Technical Colleges, schools and institutes in the country.

Represented by Dr Matthew Dada, Director, the Centre for Community Development of the university, Na’Allah said access to technical education was still limited in the country.

According to him, it is until when people can access this technical colleges that they can enrol.

“Where you have a situation that in a while state you don’t have a single technical college it means that the access to technical and vocational education is going to be limited

“And we cannot go as much as we can without developing human capital towards equipping citizens with skills that they can stand without going back to government for white-collar jobs that are not even there.”

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the foundation, Mrs Helen Onoja, said vocational education was not for the downtrodden or those who do not have, saying “even our religious support the use of our hands.”