The Ladi Memorial Foundation (LMF) has urged the Federal government to fashion out a new curriculum that will create room for skill to be taught along with formal education in tandem with reality of the times.

This it said will provide an enabling environment for skill acquisition centers and formal schools to co-exist together.

The Executive Director of LMF, Osikoya Rosemary Ojochenemi stated this when the foundation paid a working visit on the Director General of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria in Abuja recently.

She indicated that having existing schools as centres for vocational learning would attract more participation from the youths.

The proposal by the foundation she said is expedient and instructive because the existing school curriculum does not provide opportunities for most children to acquire skills that would expose them to what they could do with their hands and brains.

This she explained further to say formal education occurs in a structured and organized environment like an institution or classroom which is explicitly designed as education in terms of time, objectives and resources.
“It presents a rigid curriculum, corresponding to laws and norms. Completion of each level produces certificates.

“On the other hand, skill acquisition is based on practical and lifelong learning. Acquiring a skill while in school is a crucial notion, especially for girls, and symbolizes the key to enter the world of employment and steps in building a successful career.

In contemporary times, white-collar jobs or ready-made professions are far less to go round unemployed graduates.

Ojochenemi said her foundation started the advocacy for the integration of formal and skill acquisition schools because there is a need for more stakeholders to become more interested in vocational training schools.

“Everybody came out of the school system, so why should everybody not give back, we treat schools as if they exist by themselves.

“Today, the school sits in the community, so rather than duplicate all the efforts by looking for extra land everywhere for skill centers, make the existing schools in every community a vocational Incubation Centers.

Ojochenemi explained that it is “easier to build a skill center within an existing school, and like we have done in the second year of our project. You open it up to people who are not in school so that out-of-school youths and out-of-school children could come back to school.

“Building vocational centers within an existing school would increase access to the equipment that is available and also Increase collaborations” she noted.

The Executive Director also lamented that some skilled trade has been stigmatized by people thereby discouraging youths from learning such trades.

According to her, “we found that there is a lot of stigmatization of skills”. Most people will not learn certain trades because of reasons like, ‘mechanic’ is a dirty job.

She said teachers, parents, and other stakeholders are the people most involved in the stigmatization of skills in Nigeria according to the survey that was carried out by LMF.

“So increasingly, we are doing a lot of sensitization and advocacy, that there is a need for more stakeholders to become more aware, not just of what the law says, but the benefits of every skill to the society” she stated.
She said at LMF they do functional education, “We have been advocating for TIVET and last year we initiated a project, it is called the Young Entrepreneurs Club

She said, “The Nigerian Law (UBEC) says by the time a child completes JSS3 he should have functional life skills, For entrepreneurship, for Labour, the law recognizes that is the only time a child can drop out of school but if you look at it in real sense we pay lips service to the fact that the average Nigerian child has no functional skill whether learning, employment or even survival

“In 2018 the World report about Nigeria whether you put it at 10m or 14m we found that Nigerian children were not in school. The highest population of out of school children in the world.
“With the covid19-lockdown and the downturn in the economy I think the figure now is close to 20m of Nigerian children who are not in school.
“The second worrisome thing is the fact that two-third of Nigerian population are young adults of less than 30years of age, they are not skilled, or schooled so the insecurity.

Immediate past President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers Engineer Baba Gana Ahmed said the time has passed when everything must be certificated adding that everything now has to be skilled based.
However, he expressed concern over who will train those who are going to get the skills as they are not part of educational curriculum.
He said there must be a way to bring them in.
“Who will lead, is everything Governmemt? No. Some people have to come up, so we need to look at all these things together. we need your support.
We know what you are doing in NAPTIN, We need to train the lower skills, we need to skill Nigerians from whatever angle especially with the growing population of Nigeria that has been put at 230 million

Director general of National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) Ahmed Bolaji Nagode, who was represented by Director Legal Kunkle Oyenusi, stigmatization of skills education is a reality.”I personally believe that one of the reason our country has not seen much development is because of the emphasis that we have all laid on white collar jobs, blue collar when it comes to what people can actually do with the hands I think there is litle.

“All of us are guilty of the blame because it is easier when we filling JAMB to encourage our children to study engineering, medicine, law, mass communication. When it comes to things they can actually do with their hands I think that is where we actually have a problem.
“It is almost like if it is a stigma but in all our engagement when you go to India, China, US, UK you see people wearing their overalls confidently bearing their professional identities. “Plumbers will carry their plumbing wears, they come into entries when they are on break, it is almost like a taboo to see workmen on the street here. I don’t know how much development we can actually do with that.
He said they are a training institute that has Vocational training also.
He commended the articulation of the plans by the Ladi Memorial Foundation.
“The program that you have lined up is something that can stand the test of time. This is actually what Nigeria needs. Your findings are empirical findings, they are things which the society had tried and failed, what it has tried and is willing to also try, they are based on research findings.
“I was asking what could have driven this? It is only passion, you have the interest of the populace in mind because you want to see development of the country.

He said NAPTIN objective, mission is in line with the activity of the LMF hence he pledged commitment to supporting the initiative.
“We would also share with you our timetable and also make a note to DG to also send nominations to you for our sponsored programs.

“Because we are a government agency we do have some programs where we can actually invite nominations and I think we give you some slots one or two to initiatives that are running like yours, it will also serve the purpose. I think we should be able to do that.

“I am also a project manager for a program in NAPTIN which is project I am enhancing the delivery of vocational training in Nigeria. It is a program that is sponsored by AFD, French Government Agency supported by the EU.
“It is not a large sum but is a funding that allows us to do three major components. One is curriculum development, infrastructural development and corporate governance.
“We have put up four worshops and four bed hostel for training. When that comes on board we will invite you to come and hold your trainings in our center because we will be looking for partners that are serious like we have seen in you today.
He also promise to release the NAPTIN Logo for partnership with with LMF

The director in charge of training NAPTIN Engr Muazu Saleh Aminu said Skill can be acquired while one is pursuing his or her normal educationalso that by the time the person graduates he would havealready obtained a certification on a particular skill which he can depend on even if the other thing does not come your way.

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