COVID-19: Experts Canvass Human Capacity Building for TVET

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By Funmi Ogundare

Stakeholders drawn from the Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) sector recently converged for a Zoom webinar aimed at creating a forum for TVE managers to seek ways of building human capacity for the development of the country.

The programme themed ‘LASTVEB – Practical Skills Development in TVET pPost COVID-19’, saw participants emphasising on the importance of practicals in TVE, while maintaining government’s safety guidelines amidst COVID-19 pandemic; having a public/private synergy to build skills and ensuring that students are equipped with the required skills to compete effectively in the outside world.

Other issues they dwelt on included: training teachers and facilitators on the new normal; boosting the curriculum to meet with the changing times; ensuring that government increase its investment in infrastructure and that policy on health and safety becomes a law, among others.

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Vocational and Technical Education Board (LASTVEB), Ms. Ronke Azeez said COVID-19 has brought about a change from what people used to do, as many things taken for granted in institutions are no longer tenable.

She said she was concerned about the readiness of stakeholders of vocational and technical institutions as schools prepare to resume.

“We have read and heard that institutions are going to resume soon, but are vocational and technical institutions and their stakeholders ready?

“What does ready mean to us? Does ready mean investing in more workshops, laboratories, tools, to ensure that quality learning continues when following COVID-19 guidelines? Does it mean taking on fewer learners at a point in time? Can we carry out apprenticeship on-line? Can all our skills development take place on-line. What would be the implication of all these and many more for the technical and vocational education providers and for the learners?”

The Head of Department, TVE, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Dr. Jaiyeola Onipede stressed the importance of TVE to the development of the country, adding that efforts must be put in place to train students and youths in skills acquisition.

“The new normal means that things will not be as it used to, we must take up the challenge. Skills development needs hands-on which means we must work with machines and tools, and be on site to impart knowledge.”

He highlighted new approaches to skills development to include e-learning, blended learning, formalising the informal apprenticeship and ensuring a public/private partnership to build a skills bridge.

“How do we ensure this type of learning? Every TVET personnel must accept a change and have a positive attitude towards the new normal. We must also update our training, facilities and develop new course materials,” he said.

A representative of West African Vocational Education Academy (WAVE), Ms. Ruth David said with the changing reality, there is need for curriculum upgrade and retraining of teachers and facilitators on the health implications of being in the classroom and ensuring that there is social distancing among students.

The Chief Executive Officer, Automedics, Mr. Kunle Sonaike emphasised need for trainees to be how taught how to interact with the outside world while keeping to government’s guidelines.

“Some of the things we have taught our trainees is how to interact with customers because they will be going to the field for practicals, we have taught them that before they get into any vehicle, it must be sanitised. You have to prepare them for the outside world aside being safe in the classroom.”

The Dean, Universal Learn Direct Academia (ULDA), Mr. Babatunde Faleye called for the upgrade of the Work Base Learning (WBL) structure, adding that once students resume, they could come in batches and with tools made readily available to them for use.

“Anytime a trainee uses any tool, we must sanitise the tools,” he said.