Prof. Idris Bugaje, Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), says ensuring a skillful youthful population in Nigeria will address many problems bedeviling the nation including insecurity.
Bugaje said this on Friday in Kaduna at the closing of a 2-week Quality Assurance Assessor (QAA) training for lecturers/instructors of benefiting polytechnics of the 2023 Tertiary Education Trust Fund’s (TETFund) intervention in the North-West Zone.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the training was a collaboration between NBTE and TETFund..
Bugaje, represented by his Special Assistant, Dr Ibrahim Bashir, lamented that a large population of Nigeria youths was redundant because of the lack of skills.
He, therefore, said that if the skills were entrenched into a youths development programme where they would be assembled, well trained and certified on various skills, they would be gainfully self employed and self-reliant.
Doing so, Bugaje said, the youths could migrate anywhere and be assured of dignified treatment, reducing joblessness and insecurity in the country.
“If the youths are engaged, there wouldn’t be much vices,”he said
Stressing on the importance of skills, Bugaje said,”for every graduate Engineer produced by a University, he requires at least four technologists, 10 technicians and 20 artisans who are products of Polytechnics to carry out his assignments.
The executive secretary stressed the need for a reversed formula in funding the polytechnics by TETFund, to ensure higher funding to enable more and robust skilled labour in the country.
“There are uncontactable amount of researches lying in the University shelves, if we concentrate on the development of training for skills which is key to the Polytechnics, we will not only cut down massive number of unemployment and issues of insecurity, but legal migration to parts of the world,”he said.
Speaking further, Bugage explained that the QAA, was aimed at ensuring a viable informal sector which is vocational education.
“Vocational Sector cannot be run without quality assurance, it requires measurements, the quality of what a skilled person is producing, among others which requires the QAA. This informed the training,”he said.
Also, Mrs Sa’adatu Jimoh, Assistant Director, Strategic Planning Department of TETFund, said going forward, she would propose skills as part of the fund’s interventions line.
She commended Bugaje for his passion for skills training and development, while aligning herself to the Board’s slogan which is ‘Skills not degrees’.
She urged the participants to adhere to the quality assurance documents, modules, presentations and what they learnt for the betterment of their respective Institutions and the skills sector development at large.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Dr Aminu Yusuf, the Director, Skills Development Centre of Federal Polytechnic, Kaura Namoda, Zamfara,extolled the initiative.
He lamented that the mandate of the polytechnics has been abandoned in the past.
“Now it has been resurrected. There is no country in the world that can survive without skills, especially a populated country like Nigeria with a lot of idle youths,”he said.
Yusuf added that the programme would certainly transform the country, if the youths were property trained.
He commended NBTE for its tireless efforts in ensuring that skills supersede, while calling on them to ensure that every polytechnic in the country has a skills development centre.
“It should be made mandatory that all the Polytechnics in Nigeria have a skills development centre,”Yusuf said.
He also advised that the polytechnics certification of both Higher National Diploma (HND) and National Diploma (ND) goes hand in hand with skills qualification.
“Any graduate coming out of the polytechnic with either HND or ND should have a particular skills he/she learnt for self-reliance,” Yusuf urged..(NAN)