The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) said it has entered into an agreement with the Kaduna State Government as part of efforts to enhance skills acquisition and entrepreneurial empowerment for its residents.

According to a statement signed by the institution’s Director, Media and Publicity, Mallam Ibrahim Sheme, the pact was signed in collaboration with the Housing Developers Institute (HDI) and the World Bank.

It said the initiative would ensure that indigenous youths of the state are trained by the Centre for Educational Technology and Entrepreneurial Development (CETED) of NOUN, adding that graduates of the centre would be absorbed on completion of their studies by the Housing Developers Institute.

The statement added that the institute would screen the students for admission at CETED while the World Bank would provide the workshop materials for the training.

“The vision of the state government is to remove idle youths from the streets, get them trained at NOUN and absorbed by the HDI. The HDI has a monumental project to construct 1,000 affordable housing units in the state.”

It quoted the Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Abdallah Adamu as saying that the mandate of the university is to provide access to affordable and quality education for Nigerians, adding that the signing of the MoU was significant given the thousands of idle young school leavers in the state.

He said with the scheme, NOUN would clear thousands of such youths in Kaduna off the streets and get them trained on housing technology skills.

“This industry is handling the construction of about 1,000 housing units which Kaduna State government is about to embark on. This therefore, translates to providing thousands of employment opportunities to the youth of the state.”

The statement noted that NOUN’s most subscribed programme at the moment is Entrepreneurial Studies, which has a student population of over 30,000, adding that self-reliance and self-employment is the way to go in the current dispensation.

Adamu also appealed to the state government to expand the programme to accommodate women, especially full-time housewives, so that they can also be economically empowered, saying that the institution is passionate about women empowerment.

In his remarks, the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government, Alhaji Balarabe Lawal, said the government is passionate about youth empowerment, adding that the government is elated by the development.

He said the state would stick to the agreement, as well as present the request of the vice-chancellor to the governor. He expressed hope that the governor would give a positive thought about extending the empowerment scheme to women.
“We know that women are the first teachers. When they are empowered, they easily transfer that empowerment to their children.”

The Chairman of HDI, Mr. Afolayan Olabode, described the initiative as a step in the right direction and expressed his readiness to work with the state government in its bid to make a positive impact in the lives of the youths.