Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, 3rd of August 2018, delivered the 2018 National Alumni Lecture of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, in Trenchard Hall, Ibadan.
The lecture, with the topic “Technical Education and skills acquisition as imperative for youth Empowerment” had in attendance a large number of dignitaries, Other eminent Nigerians that have delivered the National Alumni Lecture include former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku; former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Grace Alele-Williams; the immediate-past National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigi-Oyegun; the late Chief Bola Ige and Gamaliel Onosode, amongst others
Gov. Obaseki in his lecture stressed that a lot has to be done to redirect the perception of people towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) by fostering public support, redesigning the institutions and putting them under quality management.
He asserted that the absence of a robust, well-modelled quality technical and vocational education is responsible for the frightening national unemployment figures.
According to him, He said “we have neglected technical and vocational education for far too long. The discrimination that polytechnic graduates still suffer after graduation is a clear illustration of this situation. Many technical schools have been converted to regular schools to produce all sorts of “certificates”.
“Others are simply glorified institutions with nothing technical about them; certainly not in the curriculum, not in technology nor in the faculties, facility and general infrastructure. In this way, we have gradually lost the vision and mission of producing a cadre of skilled young Nigerians to perform technical responsibilities in government, industry and general services”
While using Edo State as a case study under his administration towards reforms in the TVET sub-sector in the state, he said, “We closed and redesigned the Government Science and Technical College in Benin, and we are currently rebuilding it to reflect contemporary requirements for a full-fledged technical college.
We have equally redesigned the courses to make them demand-driven. The World Bank being impressed by these strides has contributed 1.2 Million Dollars (400 Million Naira) to this project and is set to invest an additional 2.7 Million Dollars (one billion Naira) in the coming year.”
He said the state government is carrying out surgical restructuring on the tertiary institutions, which include the restructuring of the State College of Agriculture into three new campuses in Iguoriakhi (Edo South), Uromi (Edo Central) and Agenebode (Edo North) as well as the Edo State Polytechnic in Usen (formerly Institute of Management and Technology), which is being repurposed to serve the needs of the state and the private sector.
In his own remarks, the National President, University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Dr. Kemi Emina, emphatically stated that Governor Obaseki’s leadership style in Edo stood him out for this year’s Alumni Lecture. The Chairman of the lecture, the Vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, highlighted that the number of graduates produced yearly requires a well-planned strategy to integrate them into the Nigerian economy.
He said graduates would need to augment their education with technical education and vocational training to be able to surmount the challenge of unemployment.