Jos – Mr Adedamola Euba, an engineer with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), said that vocational education and training were key to industrial growth and general development of Nigeria’s economy.
Euba made the statement in Jos on Wednesday while delivering a lecture at the 2015 Engineering Day, organised by the Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen (NEAC) in Jos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture is tagged: ”The challenges of technical vocational training and its impact on sustainable economic development.”
The guest lecturer said the best way out of any economic depression was for work forces around the world to return to the production table.
He said vocational education and training would offer the best opportunity to produce the employable manpower that would work toward boosting the economy.
Euba, however, lamented the lackadaisical attitude of Nigerians and the government towards improving on the technical and vocational aspect of education.
“The number of vocational and technical schools has greatly increased in developed countries with vocational education thriving in such societies.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria has neglected this aspect of education. The consequence is that the society lacks skilled technicians, bricklayers, carpenters, welders, painters, auto-machanics, plumbers, laboratory and pharmacy technicians.
“We are now forced to import skilled craftsmen and technicians from neighbouring West African countries, Europe and Asia, to play vital roles, instead of training our indigenous skilled manpower.
‘“Our hospitals are no longer a place where people will go and get ailments treated; they have become a place they go to die; all because there are no trained technicians,” he said.
He faulted the current system of education and the distorted academic calendars of some institutions, saying that such situations had adverse effects on vocational education in the country.
The expert added that corruption and poor funding had also denied many institutions in Nigeria the opportunity to grow and compete favourably with their counterparts all over the world.
“Our situation is getting worse; degree awarding institutions are not equipped with infrastructure and technical aids to churn out the best hands.
“Old institutions that used to train students in practical vocations are now competing to be accredited as degree awarding institutions, which should not be their mandate.
“The middle and lower cadre technical skills that are badly needed for national development are fast disappearing.
“The impression created by the early educators that the learning of vocational subjects is for drop-outs and the physically challenged children has contributed to the mess we are in today,” he said.
Euba advocated more funding to shore up technical colleges, adding that younger generations should be encouraged to go into vocational education.
Earlier, NEAC Chairman in Plateau, Mr Alex Plangnan, said that skills remained vital in poverty reduction, economic recovery and substantial development.
He urged governments at all levels to encourage vocational education, to reduce unemployment and poverty through development of individual skills that would turn everyone into an asset to the society. (NAN)