The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has disbursed the sum of €42.2 Million under its Skills Development for Youth Employment (SKYE) to bridge skills gap in Nigeria.

The SKYE project is aimed at improving the prospects of gainful employment for Nigerian youth aged between 15 and 35 and for returnees in selected sectors of the economy. It promotes a need-based Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and youth employment in Nigeria.

Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education said there is still a huge skills gap in Nigeria, especially in the area of technical and vocational fields which need to be addressed adequately. The Minister said this in Abuja on Thursday at the National Conference on TVET, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education (FMoE) in collaboration with SKYE programme of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) with the theme: “Repositioning TVET through Policy and Legislative Option”.

Adamu, who was represented by Masa’udu Kazaure, former Executive Secretary of NABTEB, said the education system in Nigeria does not produce graduates with generic and essential skills because the curricula of schools and tertiary institutions do not embrace marketable skills and the requirement of the workplace.

He said even though government had approved the mandatory inclusion of trade subjects in secondary school curriculum and entrepreneurship education in tertiary education curriculum, most of the schools in the country lack competent teachers and instructional materials for effective handling of the 37 trade subjects. “Worst still, the entrepreneurship education courses being offered in many tertiary institutions could not energize the students’ entrepreneurial spirit and mind-set for self-employment.

The Minister further decried that government at all levels has also not demonstrated the required political will for successful implementation of the policy on entrepreneurship education. Adamu stressed that Nigeria requires urgent and decisive actions to reposition TVET for technological advancement because the rapid industrialization of a number of countries such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Brazil and many others has been a result of a well-articulated TVET policy aimed at developing relevant human capital.

Hans Ludwig Bruns, Head of Programme, Skills Development for Youth Employment – SKYE said the timing of the conference is apt for all relevant stakeholders within the TVET sector to jointly work on the TVET reform process to provide better vocational education for the young people in Nigeria. Bruns noted that Nigeria is currently facing tremendous challenges in terms of sustainable job creation and productivity, explaining that the high numbers of unemployment and underemployment have become major socioeconomic challenges over the past decade.

“It is connected to the issue of skills development, which is interlinked to the challenges of adjusting TVET policies, regulations, and implementation. It cannot be overemphasised that high quality and relevant vocational education and training is a prerequisite for economic development”, Bruns said. Earlier, country director, GIZ, Ina Hommers said the agency would continue to support the Nigerian government in the promotion of technical and vocational education for creation of wealth and national economic development.

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