Osogbo, Oct. 2, 2023 (NAN) Mr Bola Babarinde, a former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in South Africa, has called on the Federal Government to revamp vocational and technical education in the country.
He said for a nation to advance technologically and be self-sufficient, technical and vocational education must be encouraged and properly funded.
Babarinde, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, said skills development for decent work and livelihood is key to sustainable growth of any nation.
The former Diaspora leader noted that the rate of unemployment in the country was alarming as a result of government neglecting technical and vocational education.
He said the former 6:5:2:3 education system, which allowed pupils to spend six years in primary school, five years in secondary school, two years in A-level and three or four years in the university, enabled maturity of pupils before gaining admission to university.
Babarinde said the system equally assisted those who were unable to have good grades in the West African School Certificate Examinations to find their ways to technical or colleges of technology.
According him, this provides them with good technical manpower for the nation’s industrial and technological development.
Babarinde observed that with the introduction of 6:3:3:4 by Prof. Babs Fafunwa, a former Minister of Education, many students lost interest in technical education due to poor implementation of the programme.
“The introduction of the new education system was a great idea from conception, but the implementation was faulty and the primary objective was gradually eroded and eventually defeated.
“Parents and wards preferred university education, while fewer candidates showed interest in technical colleges or were not encouraged at all, which saw a steep decline in the number of students opting to study in technical colleges.
“We import basic artisans from neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Togo, Republic of Benin and recently from China and India.
“Chinese construction companies readily comes to mind as foreigners take the job slots that should have been meant for our citizens.
“This is because there is a lack of nexus between the colleges of technology and the workplace, and our educational system”, he said.
The APC chieftain blamed government for not “providing right management for the country’s manpower needs but rather on paper qualifications.”
Babarinde, however, advocated for the creation of a department in the ministry of education or presidency where experienced educational administrators and people with passion for Nigeria’s greatness would be assembled.
According to him, the department will be saddled with the responsibility of advising government and implement policies that will encourage vocational education for industrialisation of the country.
He noted that APC members in Diaspora were ready to help in this regard.
“Most advanced countries of today are serious with capacity building of their youthful populations in acquiring the right education required for the development of their countries
“Making education as a proud and rewarding profession with world-class compensation and welfare which will attract our professionals in Diaspora to assist in this regard.
“We have the template to make Nigeria educational system great by focusing on vocational education to address youth restiveness and unemployment as well for optimum realisation of the manpower potential of the country,” he concluded.
By Victor Adeoti