By Sylvester Thompson
Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, Director General, National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), says there is no substitute to skill acquisition in achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.
Ukwuoma said this in his address at the ongoing two-day workshop on Revitalising Technical and Vocational Education for National Development on Wednesday in Enugu.
He said NACETEM was resolute in revamping technical and vocational education in the six geo-political zones of the country as an attempt to complement the efforts of the federal government in providing gainful employment.
According to him, the agency is intentionally deploying technical and vocational education in order to ameliorate the challenge of unemployment in the country.
“Let me make it clear that no part of the country will be left out in ensuring that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) takes its pride of place in the drive toward sustainable development.
“The significance of TVET cannot be overemphasised, hence the need to continuously engage it to drive development,’’ the NACETEM boss said.
He noted that the focus of TVET on practical skills distinguished it as an education that not only prepared students for the global stage, but also fostered better relationships between all involved.
Ukwuoma said that toward this end, the agency had in the last six months organised similar workshops in the Southwest, specifically in Ibadan, Oyo state.
He stated the objectives of the workshop to include discussing the challenges confronting TVET in Nigeria with a view to arriving at a holistic and sustainable solution.
The D-G also said it was to provide a platform for networking, linkages and collaboration among TVET stakeholders and practitioners.
Mr Obi Kama, Commissioner, Enugu state Ministry of Science and Technology, in his address, said one of the means of tackling unemployment in the country was science and technology education.
“The solution is to get abreast of the Technical and Vocational Training varieties available in contemporary technical and vocational skills acquisition programmes.
“This is the way to go in salvaging the youth from mass unemployment which is achievable by reviewing the existing curriculum in schools toward emphasising the inculcating of these trades and skills for self-reliance.’’
The zonal Coordinator of NACETEM’s South west zonal office, Mrs MaryAnn Onyejekwe, said TVET offered a lee way for industrialisation, a transit from a consumer state to a producer state.
Accordingly, she hinted that TVET was a critical element of basic education that had the capacity to educate and create jobs for the teeming population of Nigerian youth.
She also said it was a well-placed strategy for equipping the population with practical, modern, occupational and skill-based capacities.
NACETEM is an agency of the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. NAN)