A University don, Prof. Bolarin Omonona, has stressed the need for all the three tiers of governments in Nigeria, to allocate more funds towards the development of Technical Vocational Education (TVE), saying the move would help in enhancing the country's economic development.
Prof. Omonona, a lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, made the statement, in a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Dr. (Mrs.) Obisesan Adebisola from the Federal University of Technology (FUTA) Akure, at the 8th Annual National Conference of the School of Vocational and Technical Education, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, held recently in the institution.
Speaking on the theme of the conference tagged "Entrepreneurship in Vocational and Technical Education: The pathway to Economic Recovery in Nigeria," the University don described entrepreneurship as the ability of an individual to turn ideas into action.
He added that the concept also promotes creativity, innovations, risk taking and ability to plan and manage projects, in order to achieve target objectives.
Harping on the need for more attention to be given to the development of Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) in the country, the Professor of Agricultural Economics, said this was necessary because "it prepares learners for careers that are based in manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic and totally related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation."
While expressing serious concern about the challenges of unemployment problem facing youth in Nigeria, Prof. Omonona attributed the problem to the defect in School's curriculum, where he noted that emphasis is laid more on the production of job seekers than job providers.
He emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship skills as one of the basic requirements needed by the Labour force to adjust to the changing needs of the economy.
"Vocational Education and Training (VET) system can play a significant role in helping many youth to acquire skills, that are needed to start and successfully operate a business" he remarked.
On challenges facing Technical and Vocational Education in Nigeria, the Professor of Agricultural Economics listed them to include the problem of changing mindset of parents, community and industries on TVE, which he said people sometimes regard as second choice to academic education, problem of inability of TVE instructors and teachers to use new technology and adaptation to various teaching methods of Vocational Education, problem of establishing technological infrastructure, upgrade of TVE sector, poor funding among others.
As a way of addressing the problem, Prof. Omonona listed measures that could be taken to include curriculum development, improve access to education, public/private sector partnership, development of new strategies, reorientation of citizens of the country about TVE, introduction of reward system for innovation to mention but a few.
Also in another paper presented on the same theme, the lead paper presenter, who is a lecturer in the School of Vocational and Technical Education in the institution, Dr. (Engr.) Francis Adegunloye, stressed the need for the diversification of the country's economy stating that the step would help in boosting the nation's income, alleviate poverty and reduce the rate of youth unemployment.
Adegunloye, an Agricultural Engineer and former Director in the Directorate of Entrepreneurship and Vocational Development in the College, also spoke on entrepreneurship in Vocational and Technical Education, benefits, sustenance and Qualities of Entrepreneurship in VTE and stressed that massive investment in Vocational and Technical Education by governments in Nigeria, would help in promoting employment generation, develop wealth creation, poverty reduction and accelerate the country's economy growth.
Earlier in his address, the Provost of the College Prof. Olukoya Ogen, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Samuel Akintunde, described the theme of the conference as apt and timely.
He expressed concern about the state of the Nigeria economy in the last two years, a development he said has brought "general slowdown of economic activities, high inflation, extreme poverty and high rate of unemployment and stated that there was need for the government to take urgent step, in order to address the situation.
As a way of tackling the problem, Prof. Ogen charged policy makers in the country to give more attention to the development of Vocational and Technical Education, saying the move would help in securing economic prosperity for the country in the nearest future.
He commended the Dean, School of Vocational and Technical Education and organizers of the conference for "Sustaining the intellectual energy and temerity initiated by the founding fathers and pioneer leadership of all schools in the College to open the frontiers of Research and Academic excellence."
Also in his address of welcome, the Dean, School of Vocational and Technical Education in the College, Dr. Stephen Akinbani, said the theme of this year's conference was chosen to proffer solution to the economic problem confronting the nation.
He stressed the need for government at all levels in Nigeria to implement policies that would encourage youth to embrace Vocational and Technical Education with the views of making them become job creators and contributors to the country's growth and societal stability.
Akinbani expressed appreciation to the Provost of the College, Prof. Joseph Olukoya Ogen and the entire management team for creating the enabling environment, which has promoted peace and enhance academic progress in the institution.
The programme which also featured Health Talk on the topic: " You and Your kidney" delivered by a medical practitioner, Dr. Akinbodewa Akinwumi Ayodeji, had in attendance, Principal Officers of the College among others.