Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The House of Representatives has recommended a minimum of 15 per cent budgetary allocation to the education sector.
The Chairman, House Committee on Federal Polytechnics and Higher Technical Education, Hon. Adebgboyega Isiaka, disclosed this on Monday during the inaugural meeting of the committee.
The chairman added that sub-allocation to Technical Education should also be upgraded to not less than 30 per cent of education allocation.
Isiaka stressed that this, alongside other necessary systemic and attitudinal changes, would put the country on the path of national growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century skills market.
He noted that the low pace of technological and industrial growth in Nigeria could be attributed partly to the inability of technical educators to utilise scientific ideas to promote technology.
The lawmaker stressed that about 24 per cent of students receive technical and vocational education, which is very low compared to many developed and developing nations.
He noted that the unemployment figure within the youth demography (18-45 years) was put at a staggering 36.5 per cent, adding that a distressing 13 million Nigerians are out of job.
Isiaka said expatriates from Europe and China receiving huge sums of dollars for various projects in Nigeria, comprise of many graduates of well-resourced technical and vocational colleges from their home nations.
According to him, “As leaders, we must be aware of the consequences of this misnomer, in the form of social and economic distress; when too many young people believe that their future is bleak. This has deleterious consequences on economic growth and social stability.
“We need to put our money where our mouth is because average federal allocation to the education sector over the last five years is put at 7 per cent and according to data obtained from NBTE, total sub-allocation to technical education is just 12 per cent out of the total appropriation to education.
“This is considered too low and probably reflects why the World Education Forum global education system assessments report on 140 countries (34 African nations inclusive), ranked Nigeria 124th in the world and 12th in Africa; with a literacy rate of 62.2 per cent.”
The chairman pointed out that the country cannot continue producing certificate holders roaming jobless, when they could connect to right occupations and opportunities in the society by pursuing a different learning trajectory.
Isiaka noted: “But we can change this dogma by switching the subject from ‘academic versus vocational’ to ‘the shining opportunities inherent in professions as a whole’. We must change the narrative by creating a better mechanism which requires a complete overhaul of the current structure and incentive system.
“This committee is advocating a major shift in our national commitment to education with the recommendation that budgetary allocation to education should be scaled up to minimum 15 per cent of our national budget, while sub-allocation to Technical Education should be upgraded to not less than 30 per cent of education allocation.”
As a way forward, the chairman stressed that a paradigm shift was needed and a new focus must get people jobs of the future.
Isiaka said they must ask if the curriculum and training received in the tertiary institutions are tailored towards job suitability and entrepreneurship.
“This, alongside other necessary systemic and attitudinal changes will put us on the path of national growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century skills market,” he said.