Boosting Entrepreneurial Skills in Higher Education Institutions, By Rahma Olamide Oladosu

Photo credit: InfoGuide Nigeria

As insecurity ravages Nigeria, key players must continue to do their utmost to tackle youth unemployment, one of the factors aggravating the country’s security challenges.

With white-collar jobs becoming a rare luxury in modern Nigeria, the focus has since shifted to promoting entrepreneurship, skills and talent development among the youth.

To stimulate socio-economic growth and solve the problem of unemployment, many economic experts are of the opinion that the transmission of the required entrepreneurial skills, especially among young people, must start from higher education institutions, preparatory to the student graduation.

At present, entrepreneurship development is fully studied or even better offered as a course in most Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, which attach great importance to the promotion of studies entrepreneurial skills and also offer them in the form of courses.

While a university is a high-level educational institution in which students study for degrees and academic research is conducted, a polytechnic is a technical educational institution with a focus on practical training and a focus on skills, especially in the field of engineering, technology, among others. .

A college of education competes with normal schools in preparing teachers. Teacher training, curriculum development, and teaching remain the core offerings of colleges or schools of education.

Recently, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) challenged polytechnics and colleges of education across the country to redouble their efforts in entrepreneurship and skills development.

The Fund’s Executive Secretary, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, made the call during a capacity-building workshop for heads of selected institutions and staff of TETFund Centers of Excellence.

Bogoro called on polytechnic centers of excellence to focus on skills development, entrepreneurship and empowerment of relevant start-ups, although he lamented that most low- and medium-skilled jobs in the countries are managed by people from the Francophonie. countries.

Speaking in the same spirit, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Muhammad Bugaje, said that polytechnics must be aware of their responsibility to produce a skilled workforce. for the country.

The NBTE boss expressed deep concern that most major infrastructure projects in the country are dominated by skilled personnel from other countries.

“There is a need for our polytechnics to focus on vocational training, which is why we are saying that from 2023, the NBTE will never go to accrediting a polytechnic where there is no only one vocational training center,” Bugaje said.

There are indices broadly associated with centers of excellence, particularly to foster innovation and development. Higher education institutions, especially polytechnics, should focus more on skills development and support for entrepreneurship, start-ups, among others.

In areas of competitive advantage, skills development is central and fundamental. Polytechnics should have the ability to develop the skills or entrepreneurial capacity of students and researchers.

It is worrying and embarrassing that on some construction sites there are more foreigners than Nigerian workers, despite the fact that our polytechnics produce more than enough skilled engineering and technical manpower to the construction industry.

We must remember that TETF funds had recently established centers of excellence in six polytechnics and six colleges of education.

The beneficiary institutions selected equally from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country are: Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State; Federal College of Education, Pankshin, Plateau State (north-central); Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Bauchi State; Federal College Education, Yola, Adamawa State (Northeast); Federal Polytechnic, Kaduna, Kaduna State; and Federal College of Education, Zaria, Kaduna State (North West).

Also, the southeast has Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State and Federal College of Education Alvan Ikoku, Owerri, Imo State. South-South recipients include Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State and Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, Rivers State.

Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and Adeyemi College Education, Ondo State made the list for the South West.

As insecurity ravages Nigeria, key players must continue to do their utmost to tackle youth unemployment, one of the factors aggravating the country’s security challenges.

TETFund’s charge to our polytechnics and colleges of education to “aggressively” stimulate entrepreneurship and skills development could not have come at a better time.

Rahma Olamide Oladosu writes from Abuja.

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