TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN NIGERIA: A TOOL FOR SKILL ACQUISITION AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

By | June 25, 2016
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1James Ngutor Sende

2Ordue Ishomkase

1Department of Technical Education

College of Education Katsina-Ala

e-mail- msendoo2016@gmail.com

2Department of Physics

College of Education Katsina-Ala.

e-mail- ordueishomkase@ymail.com

 

 

 

 

Abstract

Industrialization is critical to economic development. In fact, there is hardly any developed nation that is not industrialized. However, industrialization would only be effective if manpower is properly trained and harnessed. This can reduce cost and produce effective and sustained maintenance of the industrial sector. This can only be achieved if a functional Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system is put in place. This article examines the deficiency in infrastructure, manpower, skills, and lack of integration between the industry and academia which has continued to plague the potentials of TVET for industrial development in Nigeria; and recommends the implementation and establishment of more TVET programs and development centers to add value among others to the Nigerian industry.

 

 

Introduction

 

Industrialization is seen by everybody as a child of necessity in a nation’s economy as it accelerates the process of economic growth and development stupendously. This makes the industrial sector very important such that its neglect by any nation makes it unsuccessful. This is why the fortune of every economy lies in the strength of the industrial sector, which makes it the heartbeat of economic development. Industrial growth for all intents and purposes is an undisputed pre-requisite for economic growth and development. If transformation is to take place and the trend of poverty is to be reduced, rapid industrialization in the African sub-region must be pursued. Evidences abound of a fairly strong relationship between economic growth and development and the industrial process. Economic growth and development needs structural changes from low to high productive economic activities. Industrialization is a key factor in the development process. High, rapid and sustained economic growth and development are strongly related to industrialization (Ibbih  & Gaiya,  2013). Industrialization is such a crucial and critical key to economic growth that it calls for improvement in systems, technologies and processes that will utilize natural resources more efficiently.

Education is a general term which refers to an exercise that engages every one. It is a process of enabling individuals to live as useful and acceptable members of a society (Aigbepue, 2011).

It is a fact that no country can develop without a quality technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector.

 

Technical and Vocational Education and Training

Vocational education could be regarded as that aspect of education, which provides the recipients with the basic knowledge and practical skills needed for entry into the world of work as employees or as self-employed (Oni, 2007). Vocational education if well implemented builds practical and applied skills in an individual which are essential for national development in aspects of commerce, agriculture, industrial, economic and socio-economic development.

Technical and vocational education according to Osuala (1981) is a form of education that includes preparation for employment in any industry for specialized education for which there is societal need and which can most appropriately be acquired in schools.

According to the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), Vocational Technical Education is defined as that aspect of education that leads to the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. The policy further delineated the goals of technical and vocational education as;

  1. To provide trained manpower in applied science, technology and business particularly at the craft, advanced craft and technical levels;
  2. To provide technical knowledge and vocational skills training necessary skills for agricultural, commercial and economic development;
  3. To give training and impart the necessary skills to individual who shall be self-reliant economically.

And the policy also enumerated the objectives of technical education thus;

  1. To provide trained manpower in applied science, technology and commerce particularly at sub-professional grades.
  2. To provide the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development.

iii. To provide people who can apply scientific knowledge to the improvement and solution of environmental problems for the use and convenience of man.

  1. To give an introduction to professional studies in engineering and other technologies needed in industries.
  2. To give training and impact necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising self-reliant and industrially useful.
  3. To enable our young men and women to have intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology Vocational and technology education encompasses every aspect of education and employment. This makes it unique from other forms of education. The neglect of technical and vocational education in Nigeria is socially and economically injurious because it is robbing the nation the contribution the graduates would make to national development (Abubakar, 2010, Nwankwo, Igwe & Nwaogbe, 2013)

Since empowerment programmes are geared towards skills acquisition, human development, self reliance, self employment and poverty reduction it then implies that training cannot be completely functional if TVET is not integrated in it. This is because TVET is practical and applied skills based.

 

Problems of industrialization in Nigeria

Various factors have been advanced for the collapsing situation of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria. The problems confronting the sector among others include: Poor power (Electricity) supply, dilapidated infrastructure, lack of access to corporate finance, policy inconsistency, multiple taxation; corruption, lack of adequate take off incentives for new business, and general poverty in the land which places serious strain on the manufacturing firms (Obi,  2011).

It has been shown that low industrial output is substantially responsible for the poor economic structure of Nigeria. One may then ask: What are the reasons responsible for this slow rate of industrial development? The problems militating against rapid industrial growth are as follows:

  1. Lack of Capital/Finance: In almost all discourses of the problems of industries whether by their owners or by those interested in their wellbeing, their financial problems have tended to overshadow others which they also encounter in their daily struggle for survival. The major source of financing industries the world over is the owner’s capital. In Nigeria as in many developing countries, this problem has accentuated the unwillingness of sole proprietors to allow the participation of outsiders in what is usually a personal/a family venture.

According to Okeke (1991), industries in Nigeria are afflicted with difficulties, chief among them is lack of capital. Besides the fact that financial constraint prevents all small scale industries from being more competitive with their large scale counterparts, it also limits their ability to engage in aggressive selling technologies (Masha, 1986).

Oshhunbiyi (1989) was in total agreement with the above observation. The author described finance as a major problem confronting industrialist at various stages of their business. The author went further to state that “whether for the establishment of new industries or to carry out expansion plans, the inability to attract financial credit has hindered the growth of this sub-sector”.

Owualah (1992) observed that financial problems of industries arise from multifarious sources which broadly can be classified as endogenous and exogenous. The endogenous problems include those due to under capitalization poor accounting and record keeping management incompetence and financial indiscipline. The origin of exogenous financial problem is partly due to the behaviour of institutional leaders and the capital market and partly, to past policy biases against them.

Finally, it is also important to state that because of our depressed economy and our debt problems, industrialist are finding it difficult to obtain enough trade credit or source capital abroad to enable them expand their operations. It is also difficult to attract direct foreign investment capital or obtain multilateral loans/ aid due to the high rate of inflation prevailing in the economy.

  1. Lack of Technical Know How: The technological knowhow and shortage of managerial man power is another problem facing the Nigeria industries. According to Ashaye (1985) it is rare for the entrepreneur to have both strong managerial and technical expertise. He said that many industrial entrepreneurs engage in industries where they do not have appreciable technological background or experience. He further maintained that “due to the size of such industrial units, technical advice and advisory departments are normally non-existent, hence there is lack of technical advice on operational problems in the workshop, development work on issues relating to efficient utilization of labour, equipment and also proper use of raw materials, improved product design, technical training for staff and know-how to resolve problems of high production cost and poor quality of products. Finally, Akinkugbe (1988) stated that the lack of efficient organizational structure and practice of modern management techniques in industries could be attributed to the lack of understanding of modern management practices. For example Presidential Task Force on Power (2014) reported that power at Kainji Dam was yet to be harnessed to its full capacity due to lack of needed technologies (technical know-how) and therefore only 3 out of the 12 turbines will be available for use in 2015, and that the Kainji Dam is still managed by foreign technicians.
  • Weak Raw Material Based: This is another problem of Nigerian industries. Due to the poor state of its agricultural sector there has been lower production of raw materials, which has resulted to excessive reliance on the imported raw materials.Nigerian industries have thus been dependent on imported raw materials and capital goods. Most of the food and cosmetic industries, cement, rubber, (plastic producing), factories depend on imported raw materials for their production.
  1. Inadequate Basic Infrastructural Facilities: Power infrastructural facilities like road network, railway, river transportation, airways, water facilities, irrigation, machinery and equipment hamper industrial development in Nigeria. This has resulted to closing down of the existing industries while new ones are not established. Also inconsistent/epileptic power supply has contributed to low production of the Nigerian industries. Although some of them have resorted to the use of diesel engine generators to run their industries, which will result to high cost of production.

The Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) in 2014 also identified the following as challenges facing the Nigerian industry:

  1. Low critical mass in scientific fields: Nigeria has not developed sufficient critical mass of experts in basic sciences and technologies. Today, most Nigerian youth study financial and social science disciplines in order to get jobs. Furthermore, most students of science and technology end up in social science jobs upon graduation, and therefore do not grow in their technical disciplines. As a result Nigeria does not have enough youth tutors, and practicing experts in technical disciplines.
  2. Inadequate Equipment – Innovation requires equipment, laboratories, and advanced tools, to develop new concepts and test results. In many countries the large Industrial private sector provides assets necessary to test new projects. However, in Nigeria, companies have not sufficiently invested in these assets.
  3. Inadequate Information Sharing: Innovation requires constant interaction between researchers, to build on existing ideas, and to deepen the overall community’s knowledge base. Nigeria needs to codify her knowledge base, track her experts, and understand where the innovation assets are in the country. This will help government and the private sector better find and deploy these knowledge assets.
  4. Weak or no interaction between the Academia, Industry, and Government: Interaction  between the Academia, Industry, and Government is inadequate, or in many cases lacking. Researchers are not sure if industry is interested in their projects, which leads to fatigue and sometimes disillusionment. Industry on the other hand is unaware of the many promising local researchers that could solve a number of their real operational challenges. As such Nigeria has not been able to develop its own technology-niche and group of proven and tested Nigerian technologies. Also, Government has historically not adequately facilitated interactions between industry, academia, and the public sector.
  5. Unclear Commercialization Path: The early stage and seed financing market is thinly capitalized with very few players. The path to commercialize new technologies and research is unclear.
  6. Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: Nigeria has already established the broad framework for adequate protection of intellectual property rights, however the enforcement of those rights is currently challenging.

 

Technical, Vocational Education and Training in Nigeria

As technological advances draw the world more closely together, vocational preparedness has become increasingly important. JeanClaude (2003) stated that there is ample evidence that better qualifications and skills protect individuals from unemployment while macro-economic perspectives show that higher skill level work force go hand in hand with better overall performances and also have a positive impact on social capital. It is in line with this that Lyons, Randhawa and Paulson (1991) stated that “muddling things in education industry” will no longer work in an era of international cartels. Prior to the present dispensation, Nigerians have historically considered VTE as an education programme meant for low level, less brilliant and less privileged or second class citizens (Okoro, 1993, Okolocha, 2012). VTE Curriculum according to Grubb (1985) has always had to battle against not only the resistance of academic curricula, but also the suspicion that they provide second-class education and tract to some individuals of lower class. Today, the innovative system of the current time is shifting towards skill acquisition courses, which are capable of making the youths and adults self-dependent. The major educational reforms according to Daniel (2001) have, however, been on vocationalization. It is in line with this, that different countries have come up with different framework towards repositioning their VTE programs. For instance in 2009, Germany had 53.2% of upper secondary students enrolled in TVET, Finland 55.1%, Ireland 33.9%, and Korea 24.4% (Dzeto, 2014). From the above figures, it is evident that these countries have all developed a strong manufacturing base and remain competitive partly because they were able to steer a large share of their secondary and higher education students into technical fields of study (Dzeto, 2014).

In Kenya, the 8-4-4 system was introduced with emphasis on technical and vocational education which ensured that the graduate students at every level had some scientific and practical knowledge that could be utilized for self employments,salaried employment or further training (Republic of Kenya, 1984). Nigeria therefore has joined her world counterparts in revamping and repositioning VTE program geared towards ensuring a national system of vocational education, a system that ensures that young people see vocational education as challenging and worthwhile. To achieve the objective of revamping or repositioning VTE in Nigeria, the Federal Government according to Olakunri (2006) came up with the strategy of using the Education Trust Fund (ETF) which was set up by law in 1993 to fund and upgrade the quality of VTE in Nigeria.

Integrating Skill Development in Education for All

To ensure that all learning needs of young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes is one of the six education for all (EFA) goals established at the World Education Forum in Dakar 2000. So the provision of vocational skills training in education should therefore constitute an important component in national strategies if the EFA goal is to be achieved (Ibrahim 2008). Yet developing countries including Nigeria tend to concentrate on Universal Primary Education and literacy, but do not pay sufficient attention to skill training for youths and adults, even though there are numerous initiatives focusing on providing education and training people from marginalized groups. These initiatives in most cases are often small in scale and are not always recognized as part of a comprehensive national education strategy. There is the need for government to urgently consider redesigning the curricula with emphasis on skill acquisition, in education, if the government’s target of its industrial revolution plan of 2014 and reducing or eradicating poverty by the year 2020 is to be achieved

In 2003, existing skills training programmes for the disadvantage groups were reviewed, and policies and institutional environments were analyzed in four countries in Africa and Asia (Mali, Senegal, Laos and Nepal). The experience of these selected countries was shared with other developing countries at an inter-regional seminar held at the International Institute for education planning in Paris from 22-23 January 2004 (Ibrahim, 2005). Suggestions for a more comprehensive approach to EFA was discussed and all stakeholders to EFA are to implement some of the policies and strategies for efficient result and feedback. Incorporating TVET in the EFA programme is a necessity in all developing countries because it advocates for flexible access to learning and training throughout life while downplaying the shortcoming of the beneficiary in order to accommodate a larger group for sustainable development and improve/enhance productivity (Ibrahim, 2005).

The Importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in industrial development in Summary

Industrial Development:

vocational Technical Education helps a nation develop technologically and industrially by producing people competent and capable of developing and utilizing technologies for industrial and economic development. It is a tool that can be used to develop and sustain the manpower of a nation.

Promotion of the Nigerian Economy: It promotes the national economy through foreign exchange by exporting products. The knowledge of VTE helps in the conversion of local raw materials, which reduces the importation of foreign goods and lessens our import dependency and encourage exportation of our local products.

Poverty Alleviation: Vocational and Technical Education is that type of education that emphasizes skill acquisition. Through the skills one can create wealth due to self-employment and can also earn one a job in an industry.

Creation of Job Opportunities: VTE helps to reduce the rate of drop outs or unemployment in the society. VTE could be used to develop marketable skills in individuals so that they can become easily employable. It makes an individual to become an asset to himself and the nation, thus preventing him from being a liability to the society.

Entrepreneurship Strategy: VTE offers the beneficiary the ability to be self-relevant, job creators and employer of labour (Maigida, Saba Namkere, 2013)

An outline of Some Challenges facing TVET Implementation in Nigeria

 Technical education in Nigeria is bedeviled with problems. Some of these are:

  • lack of modern facilities and materials for training teachers/instructors and students,
  • inadequate technical teachers or facilitators,
  • limited number of training institutions for technical teachers
  • mismatch between acquired skills and market needs, widespread concern about poor quality training and training environments, and
  • negative public attitudes and perceptions regarding TVET
  • Lack of finance for TVET.
  • Lack of integration between industry and the academia.

 

Suggestions

Vocational and technical education is result oriented (Musa, 2010). Therefore, it is recommended that:

  1. Nigeria, should adopt a uniform standard in training and certification at federal, state and local government levels. This will make it possible to integrate different vocational education training programmes into one national system.
  2. Government and other education funding organizations should make TVET a top priority when funding educational researches.
  3. Since TVET has been proved as a program whose curriculum stipulates practical skills acquisition and self development and job creating program, it is recommended that TVET should be incorporated in all types of youth empowerment programs.

iii. TVET programs should provide a world-class skills and knowledge with opportunities for the indigenous people to use available local materials and technology.

  1. Since it is observed that most Nigerian graduates are unemployed as a result of insufficient jobs in their field of study, it becomes necessary for emphasis to be laid on the importance of vocational and technical education for youths seeking for admission into tertiary institutions so that they can easily be self-employed on completion of their studies.
  2. No programme can thrive without financial support for start-ups, therefore, financial provision for startup capital should be provided for the beneficiaries of the empowerment programmes at the completion of their training, this is necessary since technical and vocational trades are capital intensive.
  3. Vocational and technical education should be introduced and implemented in all forms of youth empowerment programs, graduate internship and youth employment training schemes.

vii. The training should serve as a catalyst for industrial development and the transformation of industries.

 

Conclusion

The primary objective of TVET is to prepare for the country’s labour force meeting needs of the labour market, to enable people contribute to sustainable social, economic, environmental and industrial development. TVET also help to alleviate poverty through the acquisition of employable skills. The paper highlighted the fact that TVET contributes to industrial development and economic growth and economic growth is directly related to poverty alleviation. Poverty, like other macroeconomic variables such as unemployment, can be reduced by economic growth. It was noted that TVET by itself does not create jobs, but it is beneficial when it is associated with the actual needs of the labour market. This is the reason why TVET programmes should match current and future labour market needs. A standard TVET is expected to mobilize resources needed to face the present problems and future challenges. Quality TVET promotes skills acquisition through competency-based training with proficiency testing for employment, sustainable livelihood and responsible citizenship. It is largely accepted that TVET can equip men and women for the job market or self-employment, thereby increasing their self-reliance and self confidence. It is therefore seen as a means to promote skill acquisition, human resource and industrial development and consequently, it can be regarded as a panacea to combat the ever-increasing poverty problem in the country. It is therefore important to make sure that every Nigerian citizen has equal access to TVET programmes, which should be of high quality and be relevant to the needs and aspirations of our society.

 

 

 

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