Mr Tunde Adekola, the World Bank’s Senior Education Specialist in Nigeria, says the bank has committed $200 million to the improvement of technical and vocational education in the nation.
Adekola made the announcement on Monday in Abuja during the introduction of the National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) framework, which was organized by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in collaboration with a private enterprise.
He stated that the money was for a World Bank-funded education initiative in Nigeria called Innovative Development for Effectiveness and Skills Acquisition. He stated that it was part of the assistance provided to the Nigerian government to improve technical and vocational education.
He describes it as a Federal Government effort aimed at assisting three technical institutions in each of the six geographical zones in becoming Centres of Excellence.
Edo was picked for the South-South, Benue for the North Central, Kano State for the Northwest, Gombe State for the Northeast, Ekiti for the Southwest, and Abia for the Southeast, he stated. According to the analyst, the cash would be divided among four subject areas.
“It’s a four-year project, and we’re already in the second year,” he explained.
According to Adekola, technical and vocational education are the best strategies to close the skills gap in Nigeria. On the framework’s inauguration, he stated that state and non-state entities must work together to institutionalize apprenticeship in Nigeria.
He stated that Nigeria was endowed with human resources, but that what was necessary was creativity in converting such power into economic development. According to Adekola, it is critical for the ITF and other stakeholders to prioritize digital literacy, fair representation of women, and persons with disabilities in their plans.
Mr. Joseph Ari, Director-General of the ITF, stated in his remarks that the launch was part of efforts to use skills development to battle unemployment and poverty while assuring general growth.
According to him, the framework, which was a policy statement, was centered on the adoption and institutionalization of NATS.
“The pathway to this current policy of NATS came about on account of a robust trajectory of vision formulation.
“At inception of the current management of ITF in 2016, the Reviewed Vision for Mandate Actualisation was put in place.
“By the middle of 2022, the ITF, leveraging on new training trends, realised the need to refocus its operations along indices that will escalate job and wealth creation.
“We had synergies and experience with Germany on its Dual System, Crown Agents of the UK, Senai of Brazil and GIMI of Israel.
“All of them emphasised apprenticeship, so it became imperative to develop a new vision along that pathway.
“The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body of the Organised Private Sector, and the Skills for Prosperity, UK became readily available.
“In this regard, issues like inauguration and sensitisation of stakeholders, development of framework and validation were successfully concluded.
“Today is the fruition of this laudable process, which is aimed at adding value to Federal Government’s job and wealth creation efforts.
Ari stated that if the framework is adopted, it has the potential to substantially cut unemployment while also providing kids with the ability to earn money while studying.
He went on to say that the framework will improve training eligibility and provide a disciplined approach to skill acquisition and certification.
This, he believes, will boost the number of Medium and Small Scale Enterprises.
The framework, according to the director-general, will also address underemployment, social vices, and the crime rate, as well as increase the quality of services provided by technicians and artisans. He stated that the fund was collaborating with numerous stakeholders on additional initiatives that would assist it fulfill its goal.
Ms Sybil Ferris, Team Lead of the private company, the technical partner for the drafting of the framework, said Lagos and Kaduna states were used as pilot. She said trainings and skills acquisition programmes were conducted in the two states and some of the trainees were offered jobs among other incentives.
Lagos and Kaduna State governments pledged their support in institutionalising apprenticeship. Meanwhile, the British High Commission, NECA and other stakeholders, in their goodwill messages, lauded the effort by ITF to standardise apprenticeship. Highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the 129-page framework.