6th June, 2013
Government at various levels have been advised to strengthen technical and vocational education in the country. This is to address the ever-rising challenges of unemployment and under-employment in Nigeria.
The Rector of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, (RUGIPO), Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun stated this while delivering a lecture on Building a 21st Century Polytechnic: Issues and Challenges at the 800-seater auditorium of the institution.
He said Nigeria lacks skilled technicians because the country has refused to see technical and vocational education as important, stressing that building a 21st century polytechnic would require proactive action from all stakeholders.
“The poor performance of Nigeria’s house builders is no longer news. It is no longer strange for competent technicians to come from neighboring countries and most of the expatriate engineers who are heavily paid in construction companies in Nigeria are graduates of technical and vocational colleges. Yet Nigerians do not take technical education seriously.”
Prof. Ajibefun, who said Nigeria’s current obsession with university education has reduced economic opportunities, noted that the emphasis on theory has made graduates lack technical skills.
In appreciation of the existence of technical education system, he said the polytechnic is to turn out middle level manpower needed for industrial and technology development.
Prof. Ajibefun stated that radical changes in training needs, new forms of competition and configurations mode of operations will require fundamental reforms.
Also speaking, a visiting Professor from the United States of America, Fadamiro Henry commended the effort of both management and staff of the institution in spite of the challenges facing the country, urging lecturers to be passionate about their jobs and dwell more on mentoring.
“Lecturers should be grateful that they have the best job on earth because they have been entrusted with the responsibilities of training the next generation. They should train students to compete with their counterparts globally”.
Prof. Fadamiro used the opportunity to advise students to be self-motivated and learn how to set definite goals for their future.