Funmi Ogundare

Worried by the low interest of Nigerian youths in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) and particularly the absence of a well modeled system that should offer opportunities for producing a cadre of skilled youths to perform technical responsibilities in government, industry and general services, stakeholders in the field have called on the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) to ensure a total assessment of all technical institutions in the country.

They said the assessment will ascertain the quality of training, adherence to standards, resources allocation, students enrollment and industry support as a source of informed opinion for intervention by TETfund on critical needs.
They made this known at the inaugural Alumni lecture series of Yaba College of Technology held recently with the theme: ‘Technical Education and National Development: Current and Future Trend’.

The Guest Lecturer and former Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Chief Olawumi Gasper , noted that the demand for skilled workers is already acute and will become ever more intense as the industrial and services sectors become the dominant provider of employment.

He applauded the major steps taken by the present administration in the education sector to adopt the National Skills(Vocational) Qualification Framework(NSQF) established for the recognition of skills and competences of workers with an incorruptible validated assessment, backed up with a global certification system, acceptable to all stakeholders in the industry .

He also called on the leadership of the National Assembly to strengthen legislative initiative to reform TVET.
Giving an insightful background to the current trends in the TVET sub-sector, Gasper who is also the former Rector, Lagos State Polytechnic said, “There is need to fashion out innovative ways to reposition TVET to meet the country’s goals for national development with a view to solving our huge unemployment challenges.

” One of which is to consider only graduates, irrespective of course studied, passionate about skills and competences development for capacity building in technical skills development at our technical institutions.”

He called on heads of technical institutions and other TVET stakeholders to change the wrong public perception of TVET, redesign the institutions and programmes working in partnership with the Industry/private sector.
The Rector of the College, Mr. Femi Omokungbe, said the alumni are very important stakeholders of the college while calling for a technological renaissance and embracing of technical education as a key to economic growth.

The Chairman of the occasion and Chief Executive Officer Archi Konsult Limited, Mr. Babatunde Ojo, called for the conversion of the college to a university status saying that the move will underscore the need to change the narrative on societal discrimination in the sector and the adoption of local content development in the construction sector.
In his remarks, the Chairman Governing Council of the college, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, stressed the need for alumni to throw their weight on less priviledged students by way of endowment funds as it is done in some universities abroad.

“Such funds can be used to support research. The alumni association should therefore serve as a beacon of hope to students, “he said.

The forum also called on government at national and state levels to evolve a developmental strategy, accord high priority to technical education in its education reform agenda.

This, they said, should be based on widespread consultations with industry stakeholders, developmental partners and training providers for an urgent institutional reform in the TVET sub-sector by utilising the potential of TVET to equip the youths with skills for national development and reverse the trend of unemployment.
The distinguished alumni awards were given to some recipients for their professionalism, community service, national service achievements and contribution to the growth of Yaba College of Technology.

They include; Pastor Femi Martins, Bunmi Lawson, Mr. Babatunde Desmond Ojo and Mr. John Ighodalo Idiale.