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VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION AS A VERITABLE TOOL FOR YOUTH GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AND SELF-RELIANCE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Vocational and technical education has been existing in Nigeria before the arrival of Western Education, mostly in the form of apprenticeship programmes. However, formally organized vocational and technical schools were not in existence till after arrival of western education, on the arrival and co-existing of western education with the pre-colonial form of vocational and technical education took off in government organizations such as Nigeria Railway co-operation, public works department, the marine, post and telegraph etc. later on few vocational schools were established by both government and voluntary agencies (Fafunwa 1991).
The design of the Nigeria educational system is flawed, the neglect of technical education is an obstacle to national development and not everyone needs a university education. In Nigeria, technical degrees are regarded as inferior to regular academic degrees, while in advanced nations the reverse is the case. Individuals who posse’s practical skills with years of field experience are highly regarded in fact, the worth of everyone depends on the person’s skills and knowledge and not on the stack of academic degrees one has. Nigeria must learn to bleed theory and practicals in her education because theory alone cannot serve any useful purpose (National Policy on Education 1998).
Nigeria in the most populated country in Africa and the eight in the world with a population of over 140 million people (National population commission 2006). Nigeria is the eight biggest oil producing country in the world, but it has the largest population of poor and non-employed people in Sub-Sahara Africa and is ranked 158th on the human development index there is general high income greatly which has perpetuated the concentration of wealth of the nation in the hard of a few individuals (Action Aid Nigeria 2009).
A high level of unemployment and underemployment is one of the critical Socio-Economic problems facing Nigeria (Salani 2011). While the labour force grows with an increasing proportion of youth, employment growth is insufficient to absorb labour market entrants. As a result of this, youth are specifically affected by unemployment. In 2011, the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdulahi reported that 42.2% of Nigeria’s youth population is out of job, while Depo Oyedokun, the chairman of the house Committee of Youth and Social Development Revealed that, of the over 40 million unemployed youths in the country, 23 million are unemployable and therefore susceptible to crone, hence the need to articulate what would be done to salvage the situation (Emeh, Nusangura and Abaroh, 2012). The rate of unemployment is increasing because most graduates lack relevant marketable skills that will make them employable is industries or related organizations as a result of this, there is a high level of unemployment in Nigeria.
According to Agi and Yellowe (2013), Education is important to the development of human resources, importation of appropriate skills, knowledge and attitude. It is the basis for transformation industrialization and a high way to global knowledge economy, relating to security, Agi and Yellowe (2013), explained further that education is regarded as a means of achieving culture of peace, gender equality and positive African values. It is therefore the understanding of many that education leads to national transformation and development, through reduction in poverty withy ensured peace and security.
The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (2004) document leads credence to the place of education by clearly explaining it role in self reliance and development, Agi and Yellowe (2013) also support this when they asserted that the goals of wealth creation or generation, poverty reduction and value re-orientation can only be attained and sustained through an efficient educational system which impacts the relevant skills, knowledge, capacities, attitude and values. In view of the benefits of education enumerated above, Nigeria has provided education for decades with abundant available man power. However, what keeps agitating the nation endlessly border’s on the slow and inefficient economy, near primitive democracy and violent social co-existence in the society (NEED, 2004).
Analzing the problem of education in Nigeria, Agi and Yellowe (2013) argued that the problem is not about curriculum or investment in education neither is it non availability of man power for the sector, but that many have tended to look in the direction of management of education which include lack of policy analysis to make students to fit into the society, yet not relying on the government of the day but the management ingenuity of education managers and administrators to make education a building block of Socio-Economic Empowerment, prosperity, self-reliance, employment, crime reduction and national security through improved access to quality functional education at all levels.
However, because of recent happening such as underemployment, poverty, unemployment and their re-occurring effects, many people have hitherto criticized formal education for lack of its relevance while some other also strongly looked down on informal education as being unable to promote the much needed development, scientific and technological breakthrough. 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.
For the mentioned reasons above, it is set to look at the various ways through which the youths can be developed for gainful employment and be self reliant through vocational and technical education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Overtime, there has been a dwindling level of employment in the country and in the youth specifically. It has been noted that vocational and technical education has not been embraced by the youths, and this is as a result of one problem or the other. Youth employment can be increased throughout the country, but some factors will militate against attaining it most especially because there are a lot of graduate and under graduates in the streets seeking for jobs.
However, very little can be said to have been done in terms of research on youth employment development and self reliance as it is evident in some researches. Little analysis has been done on the potential benefits of vocational and technical education (VTE) and this has not been enough to help improve the rate of employment among youths in the society.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential impact of vocational and technical education in developing a culture of entrepreneur’s aimed at reducing unemployment among Nigeria youths. It seeks to assess how the training and skills acquired from vocational and technical education can provide the necessary platform to promote entrepreneurship as well as to reduce unemployment.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Unemployment as the term implies, has been a major problem experienced all over the country. Some youths hardly know that vocational and technical education can enhance the rate of employment in the country as well as the well being of themselves and the society.
This study will be very beneficial to the youths, also to the state and federal government, as it is aimed at ascertaining the importance of vocational and technical education and how it serves as a source of employment and self reliance for the individuals of the society with reference to the youths in particular.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are the questions formulated by the researcher which will help guide the study:-
What are the importance’s of vocational and technical education in Nigeria?
What are the relevant areas of self employment in vocational and technical education?
What are the problems and prospects of vocational and technical education?
What are the responses of government towards youth unemployment?
What are the causes of youth unemployment and the consequences of youth unemployment?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is to cover relevant areas as regarded the contribution of vocational and technical education to the overall improvement of unemployment in the society. The areas to be covered in this report are some villages from Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terms are defined as they are going to be used in this study:-
Vocation: A Latin word which means a calling and an invitation to understand some important tasks.
Unemployment: Unemployment implies lack of employment or refers to a situation where people are not able to find paid work.
Youth: A young person who has not yet reached adulthood and refers to the time period before childhood and adulthood
Skills: An ability and capacity acquired through deliberate systematic and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job function involving ideas, things and people.
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