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TECHNICAL EDUCATION ASA A STRATEGY FOR ADDRESSING UNEMPLOYMENT
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the eighth in the world with a population of over 140 million people (National Population Commission, 2006). Nigeria is the eighth largest oil producing country in the world, but it has the largest population of poor and unemployed people in sub-Saharan Africa and is ranked 158th on the human development index. There is high-income inequality, which has perpetuated the concentration of wealth of the nation in the hands of a few individuals (Action Aid Nigeria, 2009). With a nominal GDP of $207.11 billion and per capita income of $1,401 it has the second largest economy in Africa. As remarkable as the above figures may seem youth unemployment has been one of the major problems facing the country. A high level of unemployment and underemployment is one of the critical socio-economic problems facing Nigeria (Salami, 2011). While the labor force grows, with an increasing proportion of youth, employment growth is insufficient to absorb labor market entrants. As a result, the youth are specifically affected by unemployment. Moreover, the youth are more likely to be employed in jobs of low quality, underemployed, working long hours for low wages, engaged in dangerous work or receive only short term and/or informal employment arrangements. The inadequate employment situation of the youth has a number of socio-economic, political and moral consequences. This has given rise to high level of poverty in Nigeria. The share of the total population living below the $1 a day on the threshold of 46 per cent is higher today than in the 1980s and 1990s, despite significant improvements in the growth of GDP in recent years (Aiyedogbon & Ohwofasa, 2012).
In most developing countries like Nigeria, governments and policy makers are increasingly finding it difficult to deal successfully with the problem of youth unemployment. This high level of unemployment can be attributed to lack of adequate provision for job creation in the development plans, the ever expanding educational growth and the desperate desire on the part of youth to acquire university education irrespective of the course. As a result, a number of skills acquired from the university appear dysfunctional and irrelevant (Okafor, 2011).Social Development revealed that of the over 40 million unemployed youths in the country, 23 million are unemployable and therefore susceptible to crime, hence the need to articulate what could be done to salvage the situation (Emeh, Nwanguma, &Abaroh, 2012).
1.1 The Nigerian Educational System
The Nigerian Education system is base on 6-3-3-4 system, which involves three levels of institutional learning process that is at the Primary school level, the secondary school level and at the tertiary level. In the Primary school Education, children start attending primary school (elementary schools) when they are 6years old and spend the next six years there, graduating at the age of 12.However,most children who attended nursery schools prior to primary schools have an edge over those children who didn‟t have the privilege to do so. Therefore, they usually finish earlier .At graduating primary school pupils are awarded the First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC),which in combination with the Common Entrance Examination, fulfils the formal requirements for Secondary School Education. Primary Education in Nigeria is compulsory, but free under the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme introduced by President Olusegun Obansajo on September 30, 1999.Starting from 1998, those wishing to teach at primary school level are required to possess a National Certificate in Education (NCE), which is awarded by Colleges of Education. Due to lack of teachers, however, holders of the Teacher‟s Grade 2 Certificate (TC2) are still allowed to teach in some remote primary school. Successful pupils at the primary school level, who passed the entrance examination to secondary School, are admitted to the secondary school usually at age twelve. Secondary School Education, which used to last for 7years, now takes 6years to complete. The language of instructions at this level of education is English. The first phase of the secondary education, which lasts for three years, is provided at the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS).At the end of these three years, student sit for Junior Secondary School Examination (JSSE) and the successful one are awarded the Junior Secondary School Certificate (JSSC). A successful completion of the JSS is a perquisite for the second phase, the Senior Secondary School (SSS), which also lasts for three years. At the end of this period, students obtain the Senior Secondary School certificate (SSCE) after writing and passing the final Examination which is the Senior Secondary School examination. The SSCE is equivalent to the former West Africa School Certificate (WASC). Irrespective of which secondary schools they attended, all students who wish to study at a university level must have at least 5 credits (in not more than two sitting) out of the subjects they entered for in the SSS exam or West African general certificate of education and ordinary levels (GCE O/LEVEL).
The tertiary institutions provide the last stage of formal education, which take a minimum of 4 years completing the 6-3-3-4 educational system mention earlier. Professional courses, however last longer. Medicine and dentistry, for instance, last for 6years.Institutions offering higher education include universities (both federal federal and state universities) polytechnic (both federal and state polytechnic) Universities of technology (owned either by the federal or state government‟s universities of agriculture and numerous college of education. The problems associated with the educational system in terms of employment is due to the outdated school curricula and lack of employable skills of many school leavers like primary, secondary e.t.c have also been adduced for the high level of unemployment in the country. It has been argued that the average Nigerian youth does not possess the skills needed by the employers of labor for a formal employment and could therefore be said to be unemployable. Dabalen, Oni and Adekola (2000), Employers complain that graduates are poorly prepared for work. They believe that academic standards have fallen considerably over the past decade and that a university degree is no longer a guarantee of communication skills or technical competence. As a result, university graduates are commonly viewed as “half baked.” Often, this problem is attributed to the country‟s education system, with its liberal-arts bias (Gbosi, 2005). Every year, the country‟s higher educational institutions turn out thousands of liberal arts graduates who are not in higher demand in the labour market. Additionally, the course contents of most tertiary education in Nigeria lack entrepreneurial contents that would have enabled graduates to become job creators rather than job seekers. There are more than one million students were enrolled in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in 2006 and another 1.98 million in 2007. Given that most courses are completed in four or five years, many of these 3.2 million students that enrolled in 2006 and 2007 entered the labor force in 2010/2011. These do not include the number of Nigerians of working age that dropped out at secondary school level for various reasons and entered the job market in the rural and urban areas out of the 21 million that were enrolled in 2006 and 2007.
Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) is that aspect of education that enables the learner to acquire demonstrable skills that could be transformed into economic benefits (Akerele, 2007). Dike (2009) who indicated that TVE is that aspect of education that leads to the acquisition of skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. It is a planned program of courses and learning experiences that begins with exploration of career options, supports basic academic and life skills, and enables achievement of , leadership, qualities industry-defined skills, and advanced and continuing education (Maclean & Wilson,2009). The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) sees TVE as a comprehensive term referring to those aspects of the educational process involving, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life. Technical education can therefore be seen as the formal training of persons to become technicians in different occupations. The primary objective of all TVE programs is the acquisition of skills and attitudes for gainful employment in a specific occupation or professional area. The need to link training in TVE to employment either self or paid employment is at the base of all the best practices and approaches observed throughout the world. One of the most significant aspects of TVE is its inclination towards the world of work and the emphasis of the curriculum on the acquisition of employable skills. TVE delivery systems are therefore; well placed to train the skilled workforces that the nation needs create employment for the youth.
1.2 Youth unemployment in Nigeria
Unemployment is a very complex phenomenon. A person above a certain age, normally 18 is unemployed if he is actively looking for a job and he or she is not getting one. Unemployment has been defined as conditions in which people that are willing to work at the normal wage rate but are unable to find jobs. It is one of the problems that concern every government. The higher the unemployment level in an economy the higher would be the poverty level and associated welfare challenges. Unemployment is one of the developmental problems that face most developing economy in the 21st century (Patterson, Okafor, and Williams. 2006). Nigeria is not exempted from this phenomenon. Unemployment is a global phenomenon but is more complex in developing countries of the world, with attendant social, economic, political, and psychological implications. Therefore, massive youth unemployment in any country is a signal of far more complicated problems (Okafor, 2011). Unemployment in Nigeria can be classified into two categories: the older unemployed who lost their jobs as a result of retrenchment, redundancy or bankruptcy; and the younger unemployed, most of who have never being employed (Oyebade, 2003). Youth unemployment, is the youth, willing and able to work, but cannot find any. When the supply of labor surpasses the demand for labor, it results in joblessness and unemployment. Given the lack of sufficient employment opportunities in the formal sector, the youth may be forced to engage in casual work and other unorthodox sources of livelihood, thus leading to underemployment (Echebiri, 2005).
1.2.1 Consequences of Unemployment
Unemployment has serious impacts both on their present living conditions and their attitude in the future and on the society in which they are supposed to be part. Youth unemployment literally devastates them morally and raptures the ties and relationship they form. People who have no jobs feel irrelevant and inferior. And always having the feeling that they are rejected from the rest of the society, with these feelings the youths can resort to criminal activities and violence. Unemployed youths have been used to spread ethno-religious clashes in Nigeria (Okafor, 2007). However, the utilization and exploitation of mostly unemployed and ignorant youths to perpetuate post elections violence during 2011 presidential election declared to be free, fair, transparent and credible by both local and international observers that claimed over five hundred lives in states like Kaduna, Kano, and Gombe (including over nine youth corps members on national assignment) and displaced over fifteen thousand people in the Northern parts of Nigeria is a clear sign of an attempt to use this group of youths to perpetuate crime and violence in the nation (Olatunji &Abioye,2011).
In addition, there has been upsurge in the involvement of youths in various anti-social activities and crimes as a result of unemployment. Such crimes include; arson, assault, murder, abduction, stealing, armed robbery, prostitution and sex offences, unlawful possession of arms and so on. Figures supplied by the Nigerian Prisons Service (National Bureau of Statistics, 2009:248) actually confirmed this. For instance, persons admitted into the prisons by age group between 2004 and 2008 showed that as regards the youths between the ages 16 and 20 years, 31,700 youths were admitted in 2004. Others include; 40,170 youths (in 2005); 19, 122 (in 2006); 16,236 (in 2007); and 25, 317 (in 2008). As regards the youths between ages 21 and 25 years, 39,045 youth were admitted in 2004; 34, 600 (in 2005); 28705 (in 2006); 57,736 (in 2007) and 28, 049 (in 2008). Also, for persons between ages 25 and 50 years, 63,100 persons were admitted in 2004; 65, 140 (in 2005); 75,491 (in 2006); 80, 134 (in 2007) and 73, 071 (in 2008). All these figures show that in Nigeria a great number of youths are into anti-social and criminal activities mainly as a result of unemployment.
1.3 Statement of the problem
Nigeria Youth unemployment has been attributed partly to a mismatch between inadequate educational outcomes and skill demands. Youth unemployment in Nigeria has become one of the most serious socio-economic problems confronting the country. Unemployment has affected the youth in Nigeria from a broad spectrum of socio-economic groups. Both the well and less well educated are affected but more especially those from low-income backgrounds and limited education. Given the lack of employment opportunities and consequently the uncertain future, young Nigerians are forced to engage in unorthodox livelihoods sources while others engage in casual work which is highly irregular. Youth unemployment is becoming an increasingly troublesome issue in many parts of the world and Nigeria in general, it has become one of the most serious socio-economic problems confronting the country.
Beyond the problem of managing mismatch is the need for the education system to provide a platform for exchange of ideas and training in skill acquisition aimed at creating employment through Technical Education . An entrepreneurship culture may not evolve without a corresponding shift from a wholly traditional system of education to Technical Education . Technical education is that aspect of education which leads to the acquisition of skills as well as basic scientific knowledge (Dike, 2009). The neglect of technical and vocational education may have contributed to the high unemployment and rising poverty among the youth because many of them lack the basic job skills. Technical Education will advance the economy of the nation; much credence should be given to it and ingrained with focus on profitable Personal development. Unemployment prevails in the country, hence, the growth of violence, Poverty and segregation among citizens, because the educational system itself fails to Empower the ones passing it, therefore not catering to the economy its results should enhance by default.
1.4 Objective(s) of the study
The objective of the study is to access the extent to which Technical Education can be of assistance in solving the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria. Specifically the study will seek to:
– To identify the skilled needed.
– To identify skill areas of Technical Education that can provide employment for youth in Nigeria.
– To identify strategies for addressing the shortcoming.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The purpose of this work is to find out how vocational/technical education can be of help in addressing youth unemployment in Nigeria. It seeks to assess how the training and skills acquired in vocational/technical education can provide the necessary platform to promote entrepreneurship as well as reduce unemployment. It is believed that vocational/technical education holds the key to national development. How can the youth be empowered to acquire skills and ideas to reduce the present mismatch between labour demands and employability of Nigerian youth. This work seeks to define the concept of Technical Education , examine some of the factors that promote unemployment, assess government efforts at reducing unemployment and the potential impact of vocational/technical education in promoting entrepreneurship. It concludes by proposing some strategies that can sustain an entrepreneurial culture and reduction in youth unemployment.
1.6 Hypothesis of the study
Technical Education will help in addressing the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
TABLE OF CONTENT:
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Research Hypothesis
1.7 Conceptual and Operational Definition
1.9 Limitations of the Study
2.1 Sources of Literature
2.2 The Review
2.3 Summary of Literature Review
3.1 Research Method
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Research Sample
3.4 Measuring Instrument
3.5 Data Collection
3.6 Data Analysis
3.7 Expected Result
DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
4.1 Data Analysis
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.2 Recommendations for Further Study
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