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EDUCATION

The Rush For Revamped Technical Education In Edo College

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Vocational and technical education is a form of learning that is majorly practiced in secondary and lower tertiary levels of education in Nigeria.

This mode of education prepares students for different programs and sectors such as agricultural, commercial and other industries. After study it affords trained students the opportunity to become industrialists in different fields.

Vocational and technical education has played an important role in the area of employment in Nigeria. It has no doubt been able to provide employment opportunities for many youths in the country.   Experts say that if more focus is  placed on this type of education, unemployment will gradually become a thing of the past, as many youths will be delving into entrepreneurship.

In this present day, it is important that this type of education is looked into as it has contributed immensely in improving the standard of living of beneficiaries. There is no doubt that the skills acquired during the training has helped individuals and their dependants, and also the nation to boost its economy.

Experts have also said that vocational and technical education in Nigeria can promote political stability. This is because it helps in providing employment opportunities, which in turn helps in reducing crime rate.

Prior to the coming of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, education under the former governor Adams Oshiomhole received some appreciable development, especially with the ‘redroof’ revolution in most of the public schools in the state.

However, science and technical education which is the basic key towards practical  based knowledge suffered in the state as the only college established for  it many years ago became comatose after successive governments.

It is worthy to note that Edo State’s quick intervention had assisted  in  reviving the hitherto Benin Technical College, now Government Science College.

The government realizing that the state and the country in general require drivers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics etc, for proper functioning approached with determined effort in changing the narrative by building, rehabilitating and completing the first phase of a fully equipped state- of- the art building for vocational and technical studies.

No doubt, owing to the state government’s commitment in the education sector in the state,  the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), penultimate week had scored Edo State high on its readiness to drive technical education on account of the quality and training institutions and personnel for technical education to drive industrialisation in the state.

A delegation from the NBTE led by its deputy director, Mallam Samaila Tanko, had rated the state high after a tour of institutions and personnel for technical education in the state’s three senatorial districts during a resource inspection/assessment tour.

Tanko said the delegation was impressed with facilities in the state, noting that they would soon release result of their findings and make recommendations.

Satisfied with what they saw, the team urged the state government to continue in the positive trajectory it had started, urging the Governor Obaseki-led administration not to relent in its efforts to transform the state.

When LEADERSHIP visited the revamped Government Science and Technical College, a large number of anxious students were sighted at the entrance of the school gate in a mad rush to check the long list of admitted students.

It was also gathered that since the transformation as embarked upon by the state government, the management of the college had recorded unprecedented application from students for admission.

The phase 1 of the project which consists of two new buildings, was designed to be energy efficient with the capacity to harvest, use rainwater and operate with alternative off-grid solar energy, among other innovations.

It is worthy to note that students have resumed academic exercise at the college in the wake of the handing over of the first phase of the project to the state government as strong, sustainability strategy underpins the new development at the college.

Team Lead, Government Science and Technical College, Rehabilitation Programme, Arch. Giles Omezi, had explained that  the phase one of the project, which comprised two new state-of-the-art classroom blocks, have been handed over to the government.

He disclosed that a production cluster comprising maker spaces accessible to local tradesmen will soon be operational, which would make the facility a hub for job creation and skills development in the state.

He noted that the next phase of the project, which is in progress, involves the refurbishment of the nine existing steel frame buildings built in 1973.

“We have solar panels for solar energy. We are harvesting rainwater as well. This is a test case of how sustainable our public buildings can be. We are going to be doing the same thing in the new phase. The institution will be fully networked with a sitewide fibre optic system, backup power from generators, off-grid renewable energy (solar power), rainwater harvesting and an integrated sitewide potable water system,” he said.

Omezi explained that the facility will run on a Reuse, Repurpose and Refurbish approach to maximise current assets on the site, adding, “Old capital equipment that have been out of action for decades have been brought back to life, components with operational life in them are being reused and a sensitive attitude to refurbishing the old buildings means that we are utilising less new components and saving money.”

He added that key infrastructure interventions in the project include a dedicated 33kv line from the Benin North electrical substation which draws power from the NIPP Ihonvbor/Azura Power complex and a 45mbps fibre optic cable serving the college.

Principal of the College,Engineer Onaiwu Frederick Osazuwa , had explained the vision of the founding father of the College was to provide pure technical knowledge for students and lamented that vision was halted until Obaseki came to the rescue.

“This College was established by Dr. Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia in 1970. It has been producing manpower for the state and the nation. It was the vision of  Oba Akenzua that clamoured for this school that gave birth to this school. It was built by the Canadian Government. We have another one in Tanzania.

“This school was to produce technical skilled manpower that will pass from junior high school to a College of Technology. That was Ogbemudia’s vision and that of Oba Akenzua II. When the government of Ogbemudia was toppled, everything stopped. Since then the Technical College has been on. Many governments have come and gone but there was no refurbishing and rehabilitation of the College.

“Machines and tools were all grounded. Teachers were teaching practical on abstract. Many things were neglected and the school collapsed. We have been teaching and learning under blown off roof. The machines were obsolete. There were no teachers, no consumable materials. No subvention to the school. The teachers were just doing their best. Sometimes we bought materials for teachers.

“Teaching aids were not supplied. This was a standard school which has international swimming pool and sports complex. The staff strength was just 39. Some teachers retired and others left. Before Obaseki came the staff strength was 39 both technician teachers and non-Technical staff”.

“When Obaseki first came here, he wept. He specifically went to the swimming pool. He walked inside in the weed inside and asked about some residential buildings inside the school and we told him some persons sold the school land. He said he would fence the school and revamp it to international standard. He said he will create industrial park where youths could be trained.

“He said he will help them to get tools to start up their businesses. We thought it was the usual talk by government officials. Few days later, we saw bulldozers and surveyors working here. They started fencing round the College to  reclaim the entire land.

“This edifice you cannot get anywhere in this country. The equipment here is not found anywhere. This is a new 22- classroom building. From my office I can communicate with all the teachers. I can watch what the teachers are teaching and what students are doing in their various classes.

“We used to have students trained in quantity but we now have them trained in quality, decency and credibility. In the past we admit 200 in a class but now we admit  only 40. The governor is working towards getting accreditation for the school”.

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