Unemployment: ITF Seeks Remodeling Of Education System In Nigeria

Unemployment: ITF Seeks Remodeling Of Education System In Nigeria

By Ladi Patrick-Okwoli 

Worried by the rising unemployment rate in Nigeria, the Industrial Training Funds ITF, has called for a remodeling of the educational system to help in grooming employable skills and reducing poverty across the federation.

The Director-General, ITF, Joseph Ari disclosed this while delivering his opening address at the 2nd National Skills Summit held on Thursday in Abuja theme, “Institutionalizing apprenticeship and traineeship for national development.”

Ari said, “With the high unemployment rate in the country, it will not be farfetched to conclude that our current model of learning has failed to live up to its purposes and therefore, the need to consider additional educational options that will serve to boost our national apprenticeship scheme.

 “I believe that this summit will provide us with the platform to finally articulate strategies for a robust apprenticeship scheme in the country.”

 In its fifty years of existence, the ITF DG said the agency has pursued its mandate of empowering Nigerians with single-mindedness and vigour, training over 22 million Nigerians. 

He said the contributions of these 22 million Nigerians to the growth of the various sectors of the national economy cannot be easily quantified.

 Ari added that between 2010 and 2019 alone, the ITF liaised with a total of 1,353 companies for the promotion of in-company apprenticeship activities, visited and appraised 1,146 companies to determine their potential to conduct apprentice training in identified trade areas. 

In addition, Ari said the ITF harmonized 444 existing In-company apprenticeship schemes of companies in line with the ITF National Apprenticeship scheme, installed the scheme in 286 companies as well as monitored 831 companies, leading to the training of 36,397 most of whom are gainfully employed.

 “In Nigeria, apprenticeship has been an age-long tradition and an institution that was jealously guarded by customs, lineage and rituals. 

“It was a common feature of the traditional setting to see people engage in a vocation such as farming, carving, carpentry, sculpting, building, welding, catering and boat-making amongst others.

“This practice, which has persisted to date entailed that the apprentices lived with their masters and received no pay except maintenance and training. After the period of training and after satisfying the required standard of proficiency in that particular trade, the apprentice then graduates to a journeyman. 

“The journeyman is a worker who has passed the stage of apprenticeship but is not yet qualified to be a master, and still worked under a master to receive more experience, especially in management, leadership and customer handling, and received a fixed wage for his labour.” 

Ari noted that “this form of apprenticeship is regarded as traditional apprenticeship, which is not viable to enhance the economic development of a country and has not helped in curbing issues of unemployment and various other societal problems in our country”.

 In his remarks, the minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba, Adebayo Adeniyi said “In appreciation of the potential of apprenticeship and skills acquisition generally, to enhance employability and job creation, the Federal Government established various institutions that will drive the actualisation of National objectives and coupled with the recognition that investments in human capital had greater potential than infrastructural development or the building of machines”.

According to him, “What the Government, however, finds quite worrisome is that although most of our programmes get the expected outcomes in terms of jobs created, Nigerians with the requisite skills are shockingly lacking even as unemployment and poverty perpetuate”.

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Industrial Training FundsitfJoseph Ari