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Policy document: NBTE lauds Tinubu on TVET as 4th pillar



Prof. Idris Bugaje, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), has commended President Bola Tinubu for making Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) as the fourth pillar in the policy document of his administration.

He said that this was a reflection of Tinubu’s commitment to transform technical education for national development.

Bugaje, who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja said that this gesture would also grow the number of technical colleges in the country.

According to him, almost 60 per cent of the population is youthful and one of the highest in the world.

According to the executive secretary, there is the need for the country to reposition TVET so that the youths can be empowered.

Bugaje said: “We commend President Bola Tinubu for efforts to transform Nigeria.
“He has made TVET training his fourth pillar and this the the first time TVET is featuring as a pillar in the policy document of any government.

“So, we are very hopeful that he is going to reposition technical education because we must grow the number of technical colleges in Nigeria from the present number of 126 out of over 15,000 senior secondary schools.

“Our technical colleges are the ones to feed the polytechnics. It is the absence of products from technical colleges that leads to the low number of technicians.”

While also appealing to the president to adequately fund technical education, Bugaje said that infrastructure in technical education were already dilapidating, hence the need to revive the sector.

“When you enter the hall they do practicals in technical schools, it is either the roof is leaking, the machines there are obsolete or the materials used for practicals are not available.

“The principal in such a school is a graduate of sociology, the instructors have no experience and so they are not delivering.

“There is need for a marshall plan for technical education in Nigeria. We have to declare not only state of emergency which is easy to do.

” But let us also have marshall plan for technical education so that we can reinvent the colleges, retrain the teachers and instructors and bring new equipment.

“Buy state-of-art equipment in welding- underwater welding and train the people and give them proper certification so that can have jobs across industries. So funding is fundamental,” he said.

The executive secretary stressed the need to bring the informal skills sector into TVET training programme so as to discourage the importation of skilled manpower.

Bugaje said: “If we don’t produce the skills ourselves, we loose a lot from other countries.

“We need to reposition our polytechnics and to do this, we must bring in the informal skills sector into our training programmes.

” Look at Apo mechanic village in Abuja, the Ariaria market in Aba, Computer Village in Lagos, Panteka in Kaduna and see the wonderful things they are doing there.

“In Panteka, there are about 38,000 enterprises, they don’t have any certification and there is no quality assurance.”

According to him, the board is now asking polytechnics to engage them to give them skills qualification training and certificate for the skills they have.

Bugaje added:”So, that if the private sector is looking for skills qualification they will go there and recruit certified welders and fabricators and certified pipe fitters.

“So, that is why we need to mobilise resources so that TVET can lead to the real industrialisation of Nigeria.”

He said that if the government concentrated on the informal skills sector, train the technicians and craftsmen, Nigeria would be able to feed not only her industries but also industries from other countries of the world.

Bugaje, while calling for the creation of more polytechnics to deliver the skills needed for the overall development of the country, also suggested the conversation of some universities that were not performing into polytechnics.

“Some states have two to three federal universities but in reality, for every university graduates of HND from the polytechnic, so we are doing the reverse.

“At the moment, Nigeria imports skilled manpower to deliver the dangote refinery and if we don’t produce the skills ourselves, we lose a lot from other countries.

“We need to reposition our polytechnics and there is the need to also bring in the informal skills sector into our training programmes,” he said.


Lagos mulls ban on alcohol outlets near schools considers extending teachers’ retirement age



By Sodiq Adelakun

In a bid to foster a healthier educational environment, the Lagos State government is contemplating a prohibition on the operation of beer parlors and similar establishments in close proximity to schools.

This initiative aims to shield students from the potentially harmful influence of alcohol.

During a press briefing at the Alausa Secretariat in Ikeja on Tuesday, Mr. Jamiu Alli-Balogun, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, revealed the government’s plans.

The briefing was organised to update journalists on the upcoming 67th National Council on Education (NCE), an event that Lagos State is proud to host from December 11 to December 15 at the Lagos Airport Hotel.

In addition to the proposed ban, the state government is actively engaging with key stakeholders regarding a significant policy shift that would raise the retirement age for state-employed teachers from 60 to 65 years.

This move is part of a broader strategy to leverage the experience of senior educators and enhance the quality of education in the state.

The government’s considerations are still in the consultation phase, and further details are expected to be ironed out during the NCE meeting, which will serve as a platform for education leaders to deliberate on these and other pressing issues facing the sector.

Speaking further during the question and answer session, the commissioner explained that the proposal to ban beer parlors from operating near schools is part of the move by the state government to nip in the bud or reduce to the barest minimum cases of drug abuse and other vices, particularly among children and adolescents in the state.

According to him, it has been observed that the sellers of hard drugs and the rest are more or less being carried out around businesses and ghettos that are not augured well for the society at large.

“We have also come up with safety clubs in schools in which we are partnering with the security agencies such as the police, Nigerian Immigration Services, Customs services, traditional rulers, CDAs, CDCs, and more.

“We have passed the message across and we are acting as an interface. Even last month or so, we held a meeting with the necessary stakeholders, and we are still looking forward to more.

“In Epe, for instance, they have launched the War Against Drug Abuse in schools as an idea to have communities partnering with the police and other security agencies to campaign against drug abuse and other social vices.

“We’re not stopping there. It is a collaborative effort to raise our voices against the negative impacts of drug abuse in our society.

“So, we are looking for all avenues to change the narrative and part of it is that of the proposal not to have beer parlors near schools that I had talked about earlier.

“We believe that if students see, watch and move close to people drinking alcoholic substances or smoking and all that, they may be tempted or influenced to do the same.

“They may want to do so as an experiment and we don’t want to wait for that before we take a step.”

Nonetheless, the commissioner pointed out that the matter is still a proposal and would be subjected to legislation before it becomes the state government’s policy, adding that when such would happen is still unknown.

On the forthcoming NCE, the commissioner explained that NCE is the highest policy-making organ for education in Nigeria, saddled with the responsibility of considering and subsequently ratifying the recommendations from JCCE Plenary meeting, which was held in Abia State sometime this year.

He gave the theme of the meeting as “Addressing the challenges of Policy Implementation: A Panacea for the Education Achievement of 2023.”

He listed those expected as delegates to include the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, who will chair the meeting, the Minister of State for Education, all the commissioners of education from the 36 states of the federation; state Permanent Secretaries of Education, Education Secretary (FCT), Professional Directors, the Secretary JCCE/NCE Matters, and Desk Officers.

He added that other stakeholders expected are the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) Ministry of Defence, Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB), National Mathematical Centre, Paramilitary Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, and Private Associations.

He said the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu would be the Special Guest during the Ministerial Session, noting that the state government has been fully prepared to host a successful meeting.

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Osun Govt proposes budget to tackle out of school children



The Osun Commissioner for Education, Mr Eluwole Adedipo, has described as worrisome to government the high number of out of school students in the state.

Adedipo disclosed this on Tuesday in Osogbo during the defence of his ministry’s proposed budget for 2024 before the Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriation of the Osun House of Assembly.

He said that Osun now has the highest number of out of school students in the South-West because many parents find it difficult to send their wards/children to school.

He made the statement while highlighting the numerous challenges the education sector was facing in Osun.

The commissioner blamed the policies of previous administrations in the state for the woes that affected the education sector.

According to him, mega schools constructed by a previous administration led to several schools being subsumed into one.

He said that this forced some students to drop out of school because of unavailable funds and logistics to get to locations of the new schools.

The commissioner also identified a serious shortage of qualified teachers as another major challenge in the sector, stressing the need to employ more teachers.

Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Osun Assembly,  Mr Saheed Fatunmise, who chaired the Joint Committees on budget and defence, advised the commissioner to conduct the teachers’ recruitment exercise based on merit.

Fatunmise said he has confidence in the ability and capacity of the commissioner and therefore employed him to deploy his expertise to turn around the state education sector, so Osun can regain its lost glory.

It was learnt that MDAs that appeared for budget defence included: Ministry of Education, Osun Mass Education Agency, Osun Central Education District Office, Ila Orangun, Osun East Education District Office, Ile-Ife.

Others were Osun West Education District Office, Ikire; Osun State Senior Secondary Education Board, Osun State Library Board, Osun State Examinations Board, Board for Technical and Vocational Education, and Osun State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB),

Also at the budget presentation and defence were the state Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM), Ministry of Innovation, Science, Technology and Digital Economy.

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Oyo Govt mandates unified examination timetable for public primary schools



The Oyo State Government has instructed public primary schools in the state to follow the unified examination time-table.

The Chairman of Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (OYOSUBEB),  Dr. Nureni Adeniran, made this known during a monitoring exercise of the first term unified examination in some schools in Ibadan.

The examination, which began on Wednesday, is expected to end on Friday.

The government’s directive is aimed at ensuring that all public primary schools in the state adhere strictly to the laid-down examination time-table.

Dr. Adeniran said the motive was to ensure the simultaneous participation of all schools in the examination.

The OYOSUBEB chairman also warned against all forms of malpractices, saying “excuses will not be accepted from any school teacher caught in the act of aiding examination malpractices.”

He said, “We have gone round some schools, and we appeal to school head teachers to ensure adherence to the time-table given to them by the state government.”

While inspecting schools in Ibadan North-East and Ibadan South-West Local Government Areas, Adeniran noted that the level of preparedness of schools and students was quite impressive.

While he applauded the smooth conduct of the exercise in the schools monitored, Adeniran also solicited the continued support of all concerned stakeholders for success in the education sector.

Some of the schools visited included Abadina Basic Schools 1 and 2, Army Children’s School, and St. Brigids Convent School at Mokola in Ibadan.

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