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Technical Education: The Way Forward

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Technical and Vocational Education as seen in the National Policy on Education (2004), has been defined as those involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life.  Therefore, technical and vocational education is based on:  Providing trained manpower in applied science, technology and business particularly at craft, advanced craft and technical levels.

Providing the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, commercial and economic development.

Giving training and impart the necessary skills to individuals who shall be self-reliant, economically. (NPE, 2004).

From the outlined objectives, can we say that they are implementable in our TVET institution? The policy issues have been documented, but how many of these, have been given its place in the Nigerian TVET institutions? What this synopsis seeks to examine is the place of  Technical, Vocational Education and Training in the Nigerian TVET institutions.

An overview of TVET in the Nigeria institutions reveals that, TVET is still at the state of theoretical, but not practical. TVET institutions emerged with the purpose of training the young minds, but end up not achieving their purpose; for instance, the government is aware that only limited facilities exist in the Technical Colleges and Universities yet, neither comment nor action is made to achieve the goal of TVET stated by them. Most academic institutions suffer so many set-backs in terms of infrastructure like inadequate accommodation for learning, lack of post-graduate classrooms or lecture theatre, lack of functional facilities for learning, etc in terms of manpower, there are limited staff in the institutions, at times they end-up not being processional; the graduate-assistants are used more than required, just to meet-up with the demands of job in these institutions. Though the knowledge is exploding, but the equipment to practice with becomes a challenge.

Another challenge here is that the mind-set of parents and the community at large is very negative towards TVET, because of lack of adequate orientation and public enlightenment of what TVET entails in the society. The society believes that such occupations as medical, law, engineering and other big-named occupations, place people on  better occupational opportunities than the vocational occupations. Because of this, TVET is looked down at, and indeed it is an obstacle to improve the social statusquo of TVET. This being the case, Osinem (2006) opined that the challenges are to create vocational programmes that deliver professionally successful graduates.

However, TVET institutions should take it as pride to show-case TVET to the society and its value. In the western world, TVET graduates are queued for, to be employed, because the society knows their value. Let the institutions, role out this enlightenment and see if they will not have more boost than ever imagined.

The concept of  Vocational Training differs from technical, vocational education and training. Vocational training involves the informal development of practical skills, knowledge and altitudes by imitation, observation or incidental participation under a master or graduate unlike the TVET, Vocational  Training is not systematically organised, but geared towards informal skill acquisition which is not our focus.

From the foregoing, it is pertinent to understand absolutely the following roles of  TVET in national development if properly placed in the TVET institutions.

TVET is highly instrumental to a buoyant modern economy, by way of rapid growth development, skilled personnel in agriculture, construction, commerce and others.

TVET can meet the manpower needs of Nigeria by planning and providing programmes which result in satisfied employee and employer in those needed occupation, thereby fulfilling its economic role in the nation. TVET fosters creativity in students. TVET a is form of Education which emphasises the development of occupational skills needed as preparation for work.

Therefore, the TVET institutions should be adequately taken care of by funding the TVET centres, employ more professional staff, rehabilitate and provide more facilities (equipment/personnel) for learning, organise and sensitise the masses on the importance of TVET including its vocational opportunities opened to its graduates after school and so on.  By doing these, I believe that TVET shall have a best place or place value in our TVET institutions, and they shall do better than expected in our society.

Ajie wrote in from Port Harcourt.

Godstime Uche  Ajie

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Education

Kenpoly Partners NSE On Improved Engineering

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In a bid to improve Engineering practice and learning in Rivers State and Nigeria in general, the management of Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori, has approved its collaboration with the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Port Harcourt Branch, to enhance Engineering practice and academic learning.
The Rector, Kenpoly, Dr. Ledum Suanu Gwarah, stated this when the Executive of NSE, Port Harcourt Branch, paid a courtesy visit to the management of the institution.
Gwarah, who expressed delight over visit, said knowledge sharing is very important to improved learning for the students and members of the society.
Assuring that Kenpoly under his watch will collaborate with NSE, Port Harcourt Branch, to enhance academic learning and Engineering practices, he said “It is good to practice Engineering both on paper, and in the field”.
He commended the leadership of NSE, Port Harcourt, for establishing Eleme Branch in the state to boost the practice.
Kenpoly, he said, has five schools in Engineering studies and currently has over 25 departments.
The institution, the Rector continued, “is moving forward with màny of its Departmental courses unbundled”.
Earlier in her speech, Chairman, NSE, Port Harcourt, Engineer Idaeresoari Ateke, said the society was on the visit to seek greater collaboration between the two bodies to enhance learning and practices.
Engineer Ateke said her visit shows the importance the NSE places on collaboration and partnership between the two esteemed bodies.
“Our visit today shows the importance we place on collaboration and partnership between the two bodies”, she said.
According to her, Kenpoly serves as a beacon of excellence in promoting the advancement of the Engineering practice, education and research across Nigeria.
“Engineering lecturers at Ken Saro-Wiwa have a long standing reputation for academic excellence and innovation in Engineering education.
“We believe that by joining forces and leveraging each other’s strength, we can achieve great strides in advancing the field of Engineering.
“As lecturers, we can mentor the students in the Engineering Department to excel higher”, she stated.
She said further that “NSE is working together to advocate the policies that promote the growth and development of the Engineering profession. We can contribute to the continuous learning and development of our peers”.
The Chairman appealed to members of the society to pay their outstanding dues to improve the NSE practice.
She also urged members to attend NSE activities in the state and assist to develop local contents.

Chinedu Wosu

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Education

Former VC Advocates Drug Test For University Lecturers

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Prof. Muhammad AbdulAziz, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi state, has advocated drug tests for lecturers to sanitise the university system.
Mr AbdulAziz stated this in a valedictory speech to the Senate of the University at a handing-over ceremony to his successor, Prof. Sani Kunya, the new acting Vice Chancellor of the institution.
While commending the decision by the Federal Ministry of Education to introduce drug tests for students seeking admission to all universities, he said such tests should be extended to lecturers.
According to him, it would further sanitise the university system and promote sanctity and academic excellence.
“We have discussed with the Federal Ministry of Education and they want to introduce to all universities that before any student would be registered in the universities, he or she must undergo drug tests.
“If students should undergo drug tests, I believe that even some of us, the lecturers, need to undergo the same test so that we know our status.
“We also have to volunteer ourselves to have this test done on us because we have to sanitise the university.
“If the students are to be subjected to drug tests to determine their mental health status, nothing is wrong if the lecturers too are subjected to the same test.
That is the only way to check excesses in the university system,” he said.
Mr AbdulAziz said the modest achievements recorded during his tenure were in the areas of infrastructural development, academic content development and community services.
He said the achievements recorded could not have been made possible without the support of all stakeholders in the system.
He appreciated the federal government for the support rendered to the University through the Federal Ministry of Education and its various agencies like the National Universities Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
Read Also:Students to undertake drug test before admission UniAbuja
Also speaking, the new acting VC of the university expressed gratitude to the Senate for finding him worthy of the honour and to the federal government for his confirmation.
“I want to assure you that I will justify the confidence reposed in me by not disappointing you all.

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Education

Don Seeks 20%Increased Budget Allocation To Education

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A  Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Social Sciences University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Prof Willie J. Okowa has called on government at all levels to increase her  Education  sectorial budgetary  allocation to twenty percent of their annual budget , saying that such efforts will improve the development of education in the country.
Okowa said each government wether local, state or federal governments should devote an increased proportion of her annual budget to education such that in the next five to ten years , so that we can see at least 20 percent of her budget to the education sector.
He made this call while presenting the 42nd convocation lectures at  the just concluded Iaue convocation ceremonies held at the university auditorium in port harcourt, recently.
He posisted that the economy has a nexus with sustainable higher education to the effect that a robust economy plays a key role in the sustainability of higher .education , while a sustainable higher education plays a supportive economic growth and development
“On the hand,a failing economy can hardly support a sustainable higher education”.
According to him ,a growing economy easily provides the finances to fund sustainable higher education while a education provides the relevant skills and the manpower needs required to propel economic growth and development,”of course, The Inadequate provision of higher educational facilities will fail to the manpower needs required by the economy to support its growth and development”
“The ability of an economy to adquately find higher education also depends on the rate of the population ,the higher the rate of growth of population, the more the number of the people that require higher education .Hence ,a rapid population growth puts more pressure on the ability of the economy to adquately fund higher education, irrespective of its performance.”
“Population growth , economic growth and the adequate funding of higher education are therefore intricately interlinked.The adequacy of the funds that an economy provides to finance higher education also depends on how well the managers of our education institutions manage such funds.
If people who lack character , integrity and merit are appointed to helms of affairs institutions,then funds can hardly be adequate .on the other hands ,if people of character, integrity and merit are given such appointments ,then the outcome will be much better” he stated.
The erudite scholar opined that Nigerian universities and colleges are also passing through strange times and outlined outdated laboratories , inadequate classrooms, adding that many students involved in drugs and prostitution.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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