At the third edition of Eduskill Fair by the International Educational Management Network (IEDUMAN), in Lagos, recently, stakeholders renewed calls for reintroduction, reinforcement and prioritisation of vocation skills in the education system as a way of broadening job opportunities and upgrading the country’s education to meet the 21st century demands and as a way of growing the country’s economy. It was themed; “Unleashing Nigeria’s Human and Social Capital.”
The convener, Dr Onyeka Javibo-Ojigbo, stressed the importance of vocational training in schools and its potential for wealth creation in the country: “Eduskill is our own way of lending our voices that there is more to education than just theories. If you add vocation to education it will make everything easier for both the nation and the people.
“We are tired of seeing people go to schools, acquire certificate but find it difficult to get a job because everybody is looking for a white collar job, because if people understand the place of skills, the value of vocation, at least they could do something and combine their education with existing skills and they can do something for themselves.”
Chairman of the fair, Mrs Bunmi Omeke, averred that, “skill is part and parcel of education.” He harped on the urgent need to ensure that the nation’s graduates become self-reliant “rather than depend on the ready-made job.
“Nowadays, we need to retrain our graduates to help them meet up with the demands of the labour market, whereas this is what they should have learnt in school.”
There has been a decline in the standard of education over the years. The situation is further exacerbated by the poor quality of graduates churned out by the universities. The situation became alarming with surging unemployment in the last two decades.
A Professor of Education Evaluation, University of Ibadan, Adams Onuka, said: “It does not matter which party is in power. Look at when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) succeeded itself three times they were changing their programme one after the other. Even former president Goodluck Jonathan that was part of the late former president Umaru Yar’Adua changed from seven-point agenda to transformation agenda and so on. That is a problem if you don’t sustain anything.