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World Bank Releases $200m To Boost Vocational Education In Nigeria

The Director General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari, yesterday unveiled a blueprint for the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) to institutionalise and boost skills acquisition in the country.

This was just as the World Bank Senior Education Specialist, Mr. Tunde Adekola, confirmed that the Bretton Woods institution had released the sum of $200 million to the federal government towards enhancing vocational skills education in Nigeria.

Both spoke at the official launch of the framework for NATS in Abuja.

Adekola said the World Bank-assisted education project, known as Innovative Development for Effectiveness and Acquisition of Skills in Nigeria, came as a result of the federal government’s request for the support of technical and vocational education.

He explained that the programme was a federal government project in which the bank was supporting all federal technical colleges from the six geo-political zones, adding that the money had been disbursed to the government in full.

According to him, the four-year ‘Innovative Development for Effectiveness and Acquisition of Skills,’ programme which is currently in its second year, covers four different areas, stressing that money had already been released to the government.

Ari, nevertheless, said the framework would add value to the federal government’s policy on the socio-economic and political plan to create jobs and wealth.

He said the fund decided to tow the path of apprenticeship in order to accelerate and escalate the provision of skills to Nigerians.

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He said, “If you take a look at our population, there’s a need to do something fast to create more jobs, and wealth through the provision of skills.

“The plan is to go back to the apprenticeship scheme. We have had an informal apprenticeship scheme in Nigeria. If you look at the Ibo culture where an apprentice stays with his master and at the end of the training, he is settled and set up on his own.

“But this is a new trend all over the world – most of the developed nations of the world are where they are on account of such apprenticeship schemes. I gave an example of the German- dual system; it is leveraged on apprenticeship.”

He said the framework was a more contemporary approach where we are, “collaborating with foreign partners to see how we can learn new trends, and see how we can domesticate it in Nigeria and create more jobs for our people by equipping them using the apprenticeship model.”

The ITF boss added that with the lunch of the blueprint, the country was steadily evolving measures and gaining appreciable traction in its collective efforts to effectively deploy skills acquisition as a vehicle for combatting unemployment, reducing poverty, and overall growth and development of our dear country.

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He said for the fund to meaningfully drive the apprenticeship vision, it became imperative to partner like minds including the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), and internationally, the Skills for Prosperity (S4P) UK.

He stressed that the framework, if implemented, has the potential to drastically reduce unemployment while also affording the youths the opportunity to earn income while learning; enhance eligibility for financial assistance while in training, and engage a sizeable number of youths since it does not require formal education as a prerequisite.

Ari maintained that a functional National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System would ensure a structured approach to skills acquisition and certification leading to an increase in the number of MSMEs and the expansion of existing ones, a reduction in unemployment, underemployment, social vices, and crime rates, as well as improvement in the quality of services of technicians and craftsmen.

Among other things, he said above all, enriching the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System with international certification for the various vocational trades will promote balanced employment and competition among youths, and serve as a viable source of foreign earnings for the country through the export of skills.

Source: Thisday

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