The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has canvassed for the inclusion of compulsory community service in the curriculum of secondary and tertiary schools in the country to encourage charitable and volunteer work.
He made the suggestion during the 5th Graduation ceremony, 6th Matriculation and 9th anniversary ceremony of the Centre for Edo Delta Development Initiative (CEDDI) in Benin City.
The Minister who was represented by his Special Assistant, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, said the activities of the centre and other similar initiatives were needed to accelerate President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next 10 years just as he also commended CEDDI on its enlightenment programs on diabetics.
He stressed that “Because of the complimentary roles community service and volunteerism plays in national development, it should be possible for our students to complete a certain number of hours in community service before graduation from secondary school or at the tertiary level. These activities must be an integral part of our culture and should be included in the educational curriculums at all levels of education in Nigeria.
“There is the further need for more collaboration between the Government and all NGOs operating in Nigeria so as to organize our people, create awareness in them and make them development oriented and problem solvers”, Agba added.
In his comment, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Mr Kenneth Imansuagbon, who was chairman on the occasion, urged stakeholders in the state to take a cue from the state governor, Godwin Obaseki in ensuring that the youths of the state were engaged in productive ventures by provision of skills and vocational centres in the state.
”The situation of unemployment in this country and around the world is worrisome, therefore any initiative to keep our people off the street should ordinarily be supported by well meaning individuals.
“I am informed that CEDDI Skills Acquisition Centre & Diabetic Care Clinic started as an itinerant concept where healthcare and vocational skills such as Cosmetology, Catering, Beauty care etc are brought to the doorstep of the people who are among the not-so-privileged”, he said.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun, assured that the legislature would always be supportive of the programme whenever the need arises.
Earlier, the initiator of the programme and the Iyase of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe, urged the graduates to always keep the flag flying by ensuring that they put to good use all that they learnt during their training.