The Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) has called on the government at all levels to revamp the dwindling fortune of technical and vocational training institutions across the country to reduce low supply of skilled artisans.
The executive secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje made the appeal during a zoom meeting, themed, ‘Technical and vocational education in Nigeria-past, present and the future’ organised by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering in Lagos.
NAE decried the low supply of labour force in carpentry and joinery, electrical installation, masonry, welding and fabrication, painting and decoration as well as automobile and stressed the need to re-energise apprenticeship training.
Bugaje said the future of work globally, is based on skills acquisition, adding that the upgrading of technical colleges to vocational training institutes for national skill qualification training is needed for growth in the country.
“Selected departments like welding and fabrication, building, mechatronics, automobile, process engineering must take the lead. Specific budgetary allocation for skills development should be made by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) as new modern training equipment must be procured and some of the lecturers/instructors must be re-trained as assessors and verifiers in the Polytechnics and federal college of education/technical institutes.
“Technical colleges must be re-engineered on a new paradigm, skills, and be well equipped to deliver national skills qualification training in addition to NABTEB, this should be our version of the Germany’s DUAL System” Specialized Tertiary Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) should be established across states wholly by government or as PPP Projects or independent private investments. There should be funding by the development of the skills curricula by the National Occupational Standards, (NOSs) and the training of assessors/verifiers is critical as presently the numbers are dismally low.
“Before the 6-3-3-4 educational system was established, Technical Colleges were a good option and facilities well provided; now every parent wants his/her child to earn a University Degree!’’
A past president of NAE, Mrs. Joanna Maduka said the situation of technical and vocational education is pathetic, worsened by lack of organised way of doing things.
She stressed the need to revive their technical session, old equipment, structures and workshops.