Vocational and Technical Education has seen increased recognition in recent years, with many developed nations actively re-shaping their education systems to include more vocational courses.
As world economies continue to shift towards services and away from manufacturing, the need for skilled workers will become increasingly important. While many developing countries are still struggling to find qualified workers that meet the demands of new industries, Nigeria has already made significant strides in this regard, and this field of study could hold the key to long-term economic growth within the country.
With the growing demands of skilled workers in Nigerian market and world, Vocational and Technical Education has become an integral part of Nigeria’s future economy.
Vocational and Technical Education is focused on preparing students with the skills and knowledge needed to find employment after graduating from high school, or to enhance their career prospects through applied training in specific occupations or industries.
History of Vocational and Technical Education In Nigeria
In September 2015, the Nigerian government passed a bill that would formalize Vocational and Technical Education. However, This is not the first time vocational education has been attempted in Nigeria.
Just after independence, there was a big push for vocational schools to be built because it was seen as an important way to create jobs by training people with skills that were relevant to their communities.
However, economic policies at the time had put all of their focus on creating universities instead of vocational schools. After this decision was made, the percentage of Nigerians who finished secondary school without going on to university rose from twenty-two percent (22%) in 1970 to forty-three percent (43%) by 1980.
However, this number decreased again over the next few decades when more attention shifted back towards tertiary education. From 2000-2015, only twelve percent (12%) of Nigerian students graduated high school and went on to college or university while fifty-four percent (54%) completed primary school but never pursued any higher level education.
An average worker in Nigeria may have up to ten (10) years less schooling than a Western counterpart and yet they earn less money. The unemployment rate is also significantly higher; although job shortages are predicted due to rapid population growth and increased urbanization, currently nine million (9,000,000) people are out of work in Nigeria's urban areas alone.
The current state of vocational and technical education in Nigeria
In recent years, there has been a greater need for vocational and technical education in Nigeria. This type of education is different from academic or college-level schooling because it focuses on the specific skills needed to do a job.
Vocational schools are designed to teach students practical skills that will be useful after graduation, like math, science, engineering, business skills or trades like carpentry.
These types of programs help meet the growing demand for workers with specialized skills. For example, as Nigeria's economy continues to grow, many people have started businesses and as more people start their own companies there is a higher demand for new employees with appropriate skills.
However, many children in Nigeria don't have access to vocational education since most schools focus on academics instead. Most families can only afford one child to go to school, and so they prioritize sending their child who excels academically. The lack of opportunity in vocational and technical education leads many Nigerians into poverty by limiting their chance at good jobs.
The future of vocational and technical education in Nigeria
Nigerian vocational education is a relatively new concept, but one that has been met with great success. This type of education system provides students with the skills they need to enter the workforce after graduation. Vocational training can be anything from teaching students how to use a sewing machine or how to bake a cake, to teaching them more technical skills such as engineering or plumbing.
As long as there is a demand for certain skills, vocational education will thrive in Nigeria. The problem that needs to be solved though is the lack of funding. If people have good jobs then they are likely going to want their children to go on towards higher education; however if this isn’t an option then vocational and technical schools would be a better alternative.
There will always be a demand for these types of workers, so it's best to prepare those who don't get into universities now.
The benefits of vocational and technical education
Vocational and technical education (VTEC) is a form of education that focuses on skills development. The benefits of vocational and technical education (VTEC) are many. They include the opportunity to learn a trade or skill, the ability to earn money while studying, and being able to gain employment after graduation.
Vocational and technical education (VTEC) has been shown to promote better socio-economic development than general secondary education. It also leads to increased self-reliance among people who would otherwise be unemployed.
In developing countries like Nigeria, vocational and technical schools can help address widespread poverty by providing opportunities for those without access to higher levels of education
A government survey in 2006 showed that seventy-two percent (72%) of Nigerian companies were unable to find employees with the required skills to work in their industries.
There was only one university graduate per ten thousand (10,000) young Nigerians at the time. That is expected to change now that more vocational and technical institutions have opened across Nigeria over recent years as well as more awareness about the importance of career paths outside of traditional university degrees.
As Nigeria continues its economic growth, there will likely be an increasing demand for skilled labour in industries such as manufacturing, construction, hospitality and tourism - all fields where high school students can pursue vocational training instead of attending university
The need for skilled workers in Nigeria
Nigeria is rapidly emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a GDP growth rate of seven percent (7%). The country's industrial sector is experiencing rapid growth, with an average annual growth rate of nine point four percent (9.4%) over the last decade.
This provides opportunities for young Nigerians to train for jobs that will be available, but there are not enough schools providing vocational and technical education to meet demand.
To bridge this gap, President Muhammadu Buhari recently launched the National Vocational and Technical Training Programme (NAVTTP) to provide free training courses on skills such as accounting, electrical installation and maintenance, welding fabrication, painting and decorating etc., for Nigerian youths aged fifteen to thirty-five (15-35).
As part of this initiative, National Vocational and Technical Training Programme (NAVTTP) is partnering with universities across the country to develop programs leading to both local and international certificates.
The hope is that by 2023 every Nigerian who wishes for vocational or technical training will be able to access it free of charge
Through the vocational and technical education system, Nigerian students are able to become highly skilled, work-ready citizens. Vocational schools are a key element in the Nigerian education system.
These institutions provide opportunities for students who have not been academically successful to gain skills that will help them find success when it comes to finding a job or starting their own business.