UNESCO’s Section for Technical and Vocational Education, in co-operation the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in Nigeria, is currently implementing a project that aims to better equip large numbers of young Nigerians for the world of work.
This goal is to be achieved by revitalizing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) throughout the country.
High unemployment has been leading to increasing poverty and serious social problems in Nigeria. Coincidentally, there has been a decline in TVET enrolments. In fact, less than 1% of secondary education was oriented towards technical and vocational skills. The need to revitalize TVET as the best means to improve economic opportunities for the youth of Nigeria was evident. Therefore a cost-sharing project agreement between UNESCO and Nigeria Federal Ministry of Education was signed in December 2000 to revise curricula for secondary Technical Colleges and post-secondary Polytechnics and establish a new system of continuing technical staff development and training.
Project implementation commenced in February 2001 with a radical review of the curricula for 28 disciplines in electrical, mechanical and building disciplines at both levels. National experts and UNESCO international consultants from Australia, Iraq, Kenya and UK participated in the final review and updated the curricula at a workshop held in August 2001.
At the same time, seven Staff Development Centres (SDCs) were established in Federal Polytechnics located in each of the six geopolitical zones at Auchi, Bauchi, Bida, Kaduna, Lagos, Nekede and one at NBTE Headquarters. Core teams of trainers were prepared in a special course organized by UNESCO and NBTE in Kaduna in August 2001 to train technical teachers, principals and heads of departments in the usage of the new curricula. Since February 2002, the seven SDCs have held more than 34 training workshops that have benefited 572 staff members from institutions throughout Nigeria. By the end of 2002, the project expects to have provided initial training to about 20% of the staff in Nigeria’s TVET system.
The future plan includes the continuation and the expansion of the training programmes offered by SDCs for staff in TVET institutions as well as starting non-formal training programmes for the unemployed and the community at large as part of the poverty alleviation effort. A second ‘training of trainers’ workshop is planned in order to increase the training capacity of the SDCs. A major scheme to develop technical textbooks based on the new curricula is to be launched. The project aims to leave the SDCs as self-sustaining TVET human resource development providers that help to prepare young Nigerians to lead productive and peaceful lives while contributing to the economic growth of their country.