Dearth of Technical and Vocational Education in Nigeria



The Technical & Vocational Education & Training (TVET) as enshrined in Nigeria National Policy on Education (2013) refers to “those aspects of educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related science and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of the society and economy. It involves the following:

(i) Technical Colleges, (ii) Vocational Enterprise Institution (VEIs)

(ii) National Vocational Qualifications Framework (NVQF).

The major goals of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) are to:

  1. Provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and business particularly at craft advance craft and technical levels;
  2. Provide the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, commercial and economic development; and
  3. Give training and impact the necessary skills to individuals for self-reliance economically.

The workability of TVET depends on how it is being hooked to factors that will help learners. All stakeholders in vocational-technical education must be practical and not only theoretical in their approaches to making TVET meaningful. 

Technology plays important role in merging territories into one global community and this feature tends to help most developing nations to be more active in globalization. As technological development magnets the world more closely together, vocational preparedness becomes increasingly significant in a country such as Nigeria.

There is evidence that better technical qualifications and skills protect individuals from unemployment while macro-economic perspectives show that higher skill level workforce goes hand in hand with better overall performances and also have a positive impact on social capital development.

The effectiveness and efficiency of TVET have been affected by the misconception that TVET is an education programme meant for low level, low brilliant and less privileged or in another language, second class citizens.

This misconception among other factors such as brain drain, political instability, lack of political will, underfunding, further creates the bad impression that giving attention to TVET is wasting of time & resources by policymakers, forgetting that it is an integral part of National economic development.

Inability to give priority to TVET is one of the contributing factors to rising in poverty and unemployment. Despite, having over 160 government-owned Technical schools and many private technical schools, some companies seek their technical staff from neighbouring countries, a scenario that may be described as unfortunate.

TVET has been described as “a master key” to unlocking Nation’s future because the purpose of it is to develop individuals in order to enable them to contribute to the development of the society.

It seems educational policymakers in Nigeria do nothing or little to integrate implementation into this strategy. The major argument centres on the reactive nature of policymakers where some of the implementation strategies usually considered after the formulation of policy.

Another critical issue is a gap that exists between political decision-makers and career civil servants who are designated to carry out policy implementation complicates the problem.

Apparently, there is a lack of synergy between research works and policy makers’ inputs. While the researchers are busy with their academic endeavour, the policymakers are also doing their things.

Words such as collaboration and information sharing are not fondly presence in their relationship. In some cases, the research works may be considered as “too theoretical” “too abstract and not concrete” “not applicable or not necessary”.

The above points are considered as part of impediments to the viable outcomes of the National Policy on Technical, Vocational Education and Training in Nigeria.

However, having adequate knowledge about the integrating implementation strategy at the initial stage of the policy process, increasing synergy between policymakers and civil servants and making research works as the foundation upon which policy processed are built will make the TVET objectives achievable.

In order to overcome unemployment and poverty challenges that marred good governance, the policymakers at all level need to take a holistic approach to TVET in Nigeria. Parents, teachers and students need a reorientation of how TVET will contribute not only to their individual family but to the economy of our nation.  

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