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IMPROVING COLLABORATION BETWEEN TECHNICAL COLLEGES AND INDUSTRIES FOR SKILL ACQUISITION IN ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE
Background of the study
School-Industry collaboration is a mutually accepted training partnership in which school learning experience (knowledge and practical skills) are complemented through on-the-job training in an industry. It is an instructional method whereby practical skills and knowledge acquired in the classroom, school laboratories and workshops are up-dated, beefed up and strengthened through real hands-on experience on real industrial tools, machines and equipment. Gofwen (2007) stressed that school ?industry collaboration is the arrangement between two source groups, namely an educational institution and industry, to assist learners develop functional skills for the world of work. It is a training outfit which integrates training into productive and relevant work to give the learner the opportunity of matching theoretical learning experience with practical skills that lead to school-to-work transition. School ? Industry collaboration is also called school ? to ? work transition.
School ?to ? work transition provides each student with worksite orientation to build a direct relationship between the student and the employers. School to-work transition referred to as on-the-job training, or cooperative education agreement designed to prepare students to enter the job market (Lueking, 1999). Halperin (1994) pointed out that school-to-work transition is a locally based education initiatives that brings educators, students, business and industry together to help young people move smoothly from classroom to careers. Involvement of both school and industry in skill training of students has been recognized as a sure way to achieve meaningful, adequate and transfer-able skills. In Nigeria the schools charged with training for skills acquisition are technical colleges.
Technical colleges are post primary school where vocational courses are offered by students in order to acquire practical skills. Okorie (2005) explained that technical colleges in
Nigeria are established to prepare individuals to acquire practical technical skills and basic scientific knowledge. Okorie (2000) also opined that technical colleges are intended to prepare students for entry into various occupations such as operatives, artisans, and craftsmen. Kaduhur, (1997) observed that the rapid development witnessed in all sectors of the economy after independence makes it mandatory to improve the standard of craftsmanship. Technical colleges therefore are saddled with the task of providing, imparting or teaching practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of the economy and social life. People trained in technical colleges are expected to acquire valuable skills in various areas of specialization among which is electrical installation and maintenance work.
Electrical installation trade is one of the trades through which one can earn a living. Ogbuanya and Ohanu (2010) observed that it widens the intellectual horizon of the individual in the field of electricity as well as equips them with innovative spirit and skills which are necessary for knowledge transfer in the world of work. National Board for Technical Examination (NBTE) (2007) listed the trade related courses under electrical installation and maintenance works to include: -Domestic and industrial installation, cable jointing and battery charging repairs and winding of electrical machines. NBTE also listed trades under domestic and industrial installation as: -surface wiring, conduit wiring, AC and DC machines, maintenance of electrical equipment and installation. Electrical installation also refers to the wires, machinery, apparatus, appliances, devices, materials and equipment used or intended for use by an individual, or group of people of an establishment (Electrical Installation Inspection Act, 2004). Installation is the act of fixing an equipment, device, appliance or structure in position for use. All forms of installation due to wears and tears need maintenance.
Maintenance is the work undertaken to keep or restore an asset to an acceptable standard at an acceptable cost. Olaitan, Igbo, Ekong, Nwachukwu and Onyemachi (1999), defined maintenance as specific steps and precautions one takes for the care of equipment, machinery or facility which will ensure that such an item attains its optimal functional utility and lifespan. Harms, Kroons and Weigel (2002) see maintenance as routine function that is carried out on industrial plants, equipment, control devices and measuring instruments to keep them in good operating condition. Maintenance could be routine or preventive, planned or unplanned. In general, maintenance could be corrective or preventive in nature. Therefore, it requires specialized practical technical skills and knowledge in order to meet the requirement of continually changing environment of various industries. The quality of installation and maintenance is largely dependent on the specific skills acquired by the worker.
Skill is the ability to do something well while acquisition is the act of getting something such as knowledge and skill. Osinem and Nwoji (2010) stated that skills refer to the ability to perform an act expertly. It is that expertise ability or proficiency displayed in the performance of a task. Obanya (2003) define skill as versatility in knowledge, ability to adapt to novel innovations, creativity, team spirit, literacy in its comprehensive dimension, fluency in Information and Communication.
The study was carried out to determined ways that could be used for improving collaboration between technical colleges and industries for skill acquisition in electrical installation and maintenance work in Plateau State. Survey research design was used for the study. The population for the study was 58 industrial electrical supervisors and 22 electrical technical teachers from selected industries and technical colleges in Plateau State. A structured questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection. Three research questions and three null hypotheses were formulated. Crombach alpha method was used to determine the reliability coefficient of the instrument which yielded 0.85. Frequency count and weighted mean was used to analyzed the data for answering the research questions while t-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses of no significant different at 0.05 level of significance. It was found that 18 items agreed on the administrative strategies that could improve collaboration between technical colleges and industries for skill acquisition in electrical installation and maintenance work in Plateau state, 24 agreed on school-based activities that could improve collaboration between technical colleges and industries and 17 on industry-based skills that could improve collaboration between technical colleges and industries for skill acquisition in electrical installation and maintenance work in Plateau state. There was no significant difference between the mean responses of industrial supervisors and technical teachers on ways for improving collaboration between technical colleges and industries for skill acquisition in electrical installation and maintenance work. There was no significance difference between the mean responses of industrial supervisors and Technical Teachers on the administrative strategies that could improve school-industry collaboration for skill acquisition in electrical installation and maintenance in technical colleges in Plateau state. There was no significant difference between the mean responses of industrial supervisors and technical teachers on the school-based activities that could improve school-industry collaboration for skill acquisition in electrical installation and maintenance work in technical colleges in Plateau state. Also there was no significant difference between the mean responses of industrial supervisors and technical teachers on those industry-based activities that would improve school-industry collaboration in electrical installation and maintenance in technical colleges in Plateau state. It was recommended that industry based job skills should be included in the curriculum of technical colleges for skill acquisition. Technical teachers instructors should visit industrial enterprises to familiarize themselves with the current technologies, sharing of facilities between technical colleges should be encouraged. Curriculum and syllabus of technical colleges be discussed with many employers as possible on the formation of curriculum objective, selection of curriculum content, organization of the content, selection of learning experience and the organization.
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