The Gombe State government is working in partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) to provide skills for the citizens so as to make education functional and self-employment driven.
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya disclosed this at the opening of a three-Day Workshop for Teachers under the Mind-Shift SMEDAN School Entrepreneurship Programme at the Community Education Resource Centre, Gombe.
The Governor, who was represented by the deputy governor, Dr Manassah Daniel Jatau, said the fresh move was in view of the fact that paper qualification has failed to impact on the children’s skills that will make them self-employed, self-reliant and independent.
He said, “Consequently, the labour market is over saturated with unknown number of unemployed graduates, who for very unclear reasons continue to wait for, the “train that will not come”.
The governor further explained that while “some economies, for instance China, has become a leading economy of the world today because of its vibrant small and medium scale enterprises, the same cannot be said of our economy in spite of the abundance of both human and natural resources the creator has blessed us with”.
He noted that in a show of concern, SMEDAN, in collaboration with the state government has embarked on a paradigm shift that is aimed at providing access to functional Entrepreneurship and Community Service education to every primary and secondary school pupil/ student in Gombe State and Nigeria.
He added that the aim is to reduce poverty level and idleness with its resultant tendency to engage in undesirable activities in the society, pointing out that the action is highly commendable and laudable.
Governor Yahaya stated that his administration is equally concerned about creating employment in the state. “The planned establishment of a thousand hectares industrial park at Dadinkowa where all infrastructural services will be provided for investors to come is a step towards creating employment opportunities to our population. Currently, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has acquired land to set up Skill Acquisition Centre in the state”, he pointed out.
On providing conducive atmosphere for learning, the governor assured of his administration’s commitment to continue to take measures that will strengthen the education sector by building some Mega Secondary Schools to be equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities that can admit a minimum of three thousand students.
On his part, the director-general of SMEDAN said the programme aims at building the capacity of primary and secondary school teachers and arm them with the requisite knowledge they need to inculcate in their pupils and students the passion for entrepreneurship, development and community service, through the formation of competitive entrepreneurship clubs and establishment of school enterprises.
Represented by the zonal coordinator, North East SMEDAN, Alhaji Mohammed Isa Doguwa, the DG decried the alarming increase in crime, banditry and restiveness in the country which he said can be easily attributed to increasing rate of unemployment of our youths, due to lack of preparedness to start and successfully run their own businesses.
He said, this phase of the programme is, designed to enhance the capacity of the teachers who, will in turn prepare the pupils and students and convert them into Entrepreneurs, stressing that after the training all participating schools are expected to create Entrepreneurship clubs schools enterprises to compete at the national schools Entrepreneurship Competition and Awards Ceremony in Abuja to showcase their innovative businesses and community service projects to a panel of judges who are civic and business leaders.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner of Education, Dauda Maaji Batari, and his counterparts of Ministries of Commerce and Youths Development, Alhaji Nasiru Aliyu and Abubakar Musa respectively appreciated the Governor of Gombe State, and SMEDAN for including Gombe state in the programme by providing the avenue for the youths to have access to entrepreneurship training which they said will shape their future and make them useful and self-reliant.