Unemployment: Nigerian Graduates Lack Skills For Jobs Acquisition — FG
The Federal Ministry of Education has said Nigeria’s teeming youth unemployment could be linked with what it has described as lack of “specific skills required for the job market,” among graduates.
On Thursday, at a two-day National Conference on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arch. Sonny Echono, made the statement, maintaining that graduates produced in various universities of technology, polytechnics, colleges of education (Technical) and technical colleges nationwide lacked such skills.
According to him, the gap “has created a shortfall of the adequately skilled educated workforce which is one of the major constraints to the growth and development of our nation.”
Speaking further at the conference which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Skills Development for Youth Employment (SKYE programme) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and implemented by the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, the Permanent Secretary lamented that “there is no doubt that there is an epic gap between the skilled manpower required and that which is currently available.”
“Most of the graduates produced in various universities of technology, polytechnics, colleges of education (Technical) and technical colleges nationwide do not have specific skills required for the job market (market-relevant skills).
“The situation results to having millions of Nigerian graduates that are unemployed,” he said.
Echono explained that given the situation, the present administration’s emphasis is majored on Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and skill acquisition, maintaining that TVET is the bedrock of socio-economic growth and development of any nation.
“Government at all levels has been making frantic efforts to equip the youths by establishing technical colleges, polytechnics, mono-technics, Vocational Enterprise Institutions (VEIs) and Innovation Enterprise Institutions (IEIs) and Model Skills Training Centers (MSTC) for equipping youths/learners with technical and vocational skills through formal and non-formal channels across the states of the federation,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the main focus of the conference themed: “Repositioning Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) through Policy and Legislative Options for National Development” was “to develop synergy among the stakeholders of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Nigeria through policy and legislative options which will serve as a foundation for (TVET) development, coordination and effective implementation in Nigeria.”
His words: “This initiative is highly welcomed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as it will further enhance the achievement of this Administration’s ‘Change mantra’ through an effective manpower development with a viable skill acquisition programme specifically in areas of technology, and other aspects of resourcefulness to enhance national development; hence the establishment of Skill Training Centers (STCs) especially now that government is making comprehensive efforts in youths skill capacity building through investment in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).”
Similarly, the Head of Programme, Skills Development for Youth Employment, SKYE, Hans Ludwig Bruns, has said that “Nigeria is currently facing tremendous challenges in terms of sustainable job creation and productivity.”
According to him, “The high numbers of unemployment and underemployment have become major socio-economic challenges over the past decade.
“It is connected to the issue of skills development, which is interlinked to the challenges of adjusting TVET policies, regulations, and implementation,” he said, maintaining that “it cannot be overemphasised that high quality and relevant vocational education and training is a prerequisite for economic development.”
He called on relevant stakeholders within the TVET sector to jointly work on the TVET reform process, submitting that, “this is needed to provide better vocational education for the young people in Nigeria.”
“The topic is a high priority in the reform agenda in many countries and Nigeria is not an exception.
“It is worthy to note that the Government of Nigeria has taken important steps forward in establishing the National Skills Council under the chairmanship of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the objective to develop skills for the nation through TVET.
“However, challenges are still remaining – Public education providers need to make education and training more relevant to the demand of the private,” he said.