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INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR LOW ENROLEMENT INTO VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMMES
Background of the Study
In Nigeria, education has contributed immensely to the national development and the achievement of political independence, that the average Nigeria parent strongly believes in it as a potent instrument for preparing individual or children to become active participants in the socio economic and political development of the country. (Nwadiani 1997).
Since the end of the 1960s and the early 70s, Nigeria found herself in buoyant economy because of the oil boom. As a result of this, a lot of investments were made both in commerce as well as in industries. Many industries sprang up in many urban centres and cities like Lagos. Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, Owerri, Akure, Abeokuta, Oshogbo just to mention but few. Construction industries were equally boosted, many roads and fly-overs were constructed. The establishment, approval and construction of the new federal capital Abuja also followed.
All these areas of engineering demand the services of competent professionals: from Architects to the craftsmen. It was during this period that the country’s shortage of manpower both in industry and commerce became obvious, hence government decided to improve on the training of technical personnel both at tertiary and professional levels, this led to the upsurge in the number of technical colleges in the country (Adenle 1991).
In pursuance of this commitment, the Mudasiru administration appointed a number of high powered committees to look at different facets of Education. Among these was the committee to review Vocational and Technical Education (VOTEC) in Lagos State, this committee consisted of seven members and was headed by professor A.O. Seriki. Towards the end of Mudasiruadministration, between August 1984 and 1985 the ministry of Education was re-organized to carry out among other things: the planning of Technical Education needs of the state. This was the first bold step the Lagos State Government has ever taken towards the improvement of VOTEC; unlike many state in the country which were noted for Technical Education. Lagos Starter is a late state in the establishment and running of Government owned Technical Colleges, Apart from the first Technical College in Nigeria and of course in Lagos state, was the Federal Science and Technical College Yaba Established in 1948.
The thought of establishing the state owned Technical Colleges in Lagos State evolved partly as a result of the fact that VOTEC has become the only panacea to combat the menace of drop out youths (Gasper 2003).
In the report submitted by professor Seriki on the review of VOTEC in Lagos State in 1984, he recommended amongst others, establishment and adequate funding of VOTEC in the state. The reports also recommended the definition and nature of VOTEC in Lagos state. The report recommended that technical colleges should consist of two sections namely the junior and senior technical.
To date there are five technical colleges owned and founded by the Lagos State Government and they are:
(Manpower Development Centre)
These Colleges run technical education programme training on Electronics, Automechanics, Building, Woodwork, Agriculture, catering and Hotel Management, Secretarial Studies etc. The oldest Technical College in Lagos State – the Industrial Manpower Training Centre which was later charged to Government Technical Colelge – Odomola – Epe was established by the joint effort of chief Adebowale (Adebowale Electronics) and the Lagos State chambers of commerce and industries in 1984 for the training of industrial workers and training of people in technical and technological subjects in order to produce skilled manpower for the industries. The school was taken over by the state Government in 1985 in fulfilment of Seriki report.
Until early 1989 when the curriculum of the five technical colleges was up-grated to suit the National Board for Technical Education curriculum leading to the award of the National Technical Certificate (NTC) after successful results in the examination conducted by the National Board for Business and Technical Education Examination Board (NABTEB) (Adenle 1991).
In pursuance of VOTEC development, various efforts made by Government to empower Nigeria Youths, according to the Mitchell Group, Inc. (2003) in Nneji (2005) includes;
– The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) with sub-programmes such as the Vocational Skill Development, National open Apprentice Scheme and school on wheels.
– The Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) with sub-programmes such like the Capacity Acquisition Programme (CAP), and the Mandatory Attachment Programme (MAP).
– The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) assisted Skills Development Centre.
– The private sectors, especially oil – sector related companies such as Chevron and Shell had projects to provide vocational training and Micro-financing loans to youth in the oil communities.
– Non-Government Organisation (NGOs) such as the Nigeria Opportunities Industrialization Centre (NOIC) also provide vocational training.
In corollary, a youth without a skill is a youth without a future. Acquisition of VOTEC skills brighten the future of Nigeria Youths.
The National Policy on Education emphasizes the need for pre-vocational, vocational and Technical Training as an avenue for self-employment, self-reliance and increased productivity. It will also promote national prosperity and enhances a measure of socio-economic, political and technological independence (Olaitan 1985).
Despite all the laudable efforts by the Government and the role of Technical education in national development, there is still the problem of “decline Enrolment” of Youths into Lagos State technical colleges, this is further compounded by the fact that the unskilled youths rely soly on Government for employment because of their inability to be self-employed as a result of lack of skills.
It has been proven by experts that while the growth of enrolment into VOTEC remains low, the growth of job opportunities for graduates for VTOEC continue to be on the increase (Brady 1999). He further states. “Many more millions job positions are going begging for skill Welder, Mechanists, Electricians and Plumbers, Health care workers, and repair people of all trips”.
A close examination of a report by the National Population Commission (NPC), (1991) revealed that only about 45 percent of graduates from post-secondary institutions nation-wide were employed, if at all, in the job that had no direct relationship to their major fields of studies and among graduates of liberal arts programmes, the figure was put at about 69 percent; while about 87 percent of graduates from VOTEC prgrammes were gainfully employed in the areas of which they were trained.
Enrolment figures, projections and issues that normally feature in the report of educational, administrators and planners, official reports of the Federal and State ministry of education, State and Local Schools boards and individual school’s authority.
Indeed, the statistic divisions of these establishments compile enrolment figures and based on these figures make projection of developmental trends into the future. The poor patronage of youths into Technical Colleges in Lagos State has a stalling effect on economic and human resources development and negative impact on the employment generation policies of the state government.
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