The Small, Medium, Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in partnership with the Kaduna State Government, on Tuesday began a two-day training of teachers of entrepreneurship in secondary and primary schools.
The training is on entrepreneurship in the state.
The entrepreneurship teachers cut across the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
The capacity building for the teachers was under the SMEDAN’s Mind Shift Entrepreneurship (MEP) Programme.
The MEP is designed to engage vibrant students and youths, to channel their skills into productive venture creation and management of their own businesses.
In his address, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said the programme was designed to enhance the capacity of the teachers, who would in turn, prepare the pupils, students and convert them into entrepreneurs.
Fasanya was represented by Dr. Yinka Fisher, Deputy Director, Partnership and Coordination Department of the agency.
He stressed that there was a lot of anxiety and uncertainty among Nigerian students about their future, following the dearth of opportunities in the employment market and their lack of entrepreneurial skills to go into new business ventures.
“The World Bank recently predicted that there will be additional injection of 40 million people joining the economically active group by 2040 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Given the most promising economic performance within the region, there is no way regular employment will cope with this number of people entering the unemployment market,” he said.
Fasanya stated that the imperative was to support young people with education and training that would promote employment generation and wealth creation.
“The programme is to provide access to functional and hands-on entrepreneurship and financial literacy and community service education to every primary and secondary student in Nigeria.
“The MEP Programme is driven through two National School Entrepreneurship Programme (N-SEP) for primary and secondary schools and Tertiary Institution Entrepreneurship Development programme (TINEDEP).
“We have gotten the buy-in of the universities, polytechnics, Colleges of Education and regulatory authorities such as NUC, NBTE and NCCE have endorsed the programme,” Fasanya said.
He said entrepreneurship teachers must be entrepreneurs themselves, because one could not give what he did not have.
“The agency has carefully designed teacher’s manual to guide them on how to hand-hold the pupils and students towards entrepreneurial journey.
“The teacher’s manual is provided to assist entrepreneurship into the pupils and students, to guide and assist teachers in inculcating the culture and spirit of teaching of the business of entrepreneurship,” he said.
Fasanya urged the Kaduna government to take ownership of the programme and step it down to all primary and secondary schools in the state.
Also, Gov. Nasir El- Rufai commended SMEDAN for the MEP programme, noting that the training would enhance the teachers’ capacity on entrepreneurship, which would be impacted to the students.
The governor, represented by Dr. Yusuf Saleh, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Technology, said Nigeria’s population was on the increase on a daily basis and the nation, unable to afford employment for all graduates.
He said the state government was working on introducing technical education at the primary school level, to catch them at a young age.
“We are in partnership with AKK gas pipeline project to see how we can train our young people on welding and fabrication; we are also in collaboration with agricultural organisation, among others, on training of our young people.
“We also organise trainings to promote what our medium, small and micro enterprises producers are doing,” he said.
The Governor urged SMEDAN to partner with the newly-established Senior Secondary Schools Education Commission, to enable expansion of the programme to other states.
Also, the Principal of Rimi College, Mr. Andrew Dodo, said most students often had the mindset and ambition of working in big offices and government parastatals.
He said with the realities on ground, the students needed to be updated and trained on entrepreneurship skills, to make them self-reliant and independent at the advent of population increase, which translated to job scarcity.
“We are, for long, supposed to be teaching our children on what they will contribute to our country; if they think otherwise, we will continue to be battling with unemployment as a nation,” Dodo said.