The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Polytechnics and Higher Technical Education, Adegboyega Isiaka, has called for an upward review of budgetary allocation to education to a minimum of 15 per cent.
He also urged that the sub-allocation to technical education be upgraded to no less than 30 per cent of education allocation.
This, alongside other necessary systemic and attitudinal changes, he said, would place the country on the path of national growth and global competitiveness in the 21st century skills market.
The lawmaker, who stated this at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja yesterday, said there was urgent need to move young people from education to employment.
Isiaka said creating a successful education-to-employment system requires new incentives and structures.
He said a paradigm shift is needed, adding that a new focus must be set for jobs of the future.
“We must ask if the curriculum and training received in our tertiary institutions are tailored towards job suitability and entrepreneurship,” he said.
He said while government faces a conundrum with high level of youth unemployment and businesses experience shortage of job seekers with critical skills; employers, education providers and the youth -all operate in parallel lines on their understanding of the same situation.
He said using Technical and Vocational Education Training, TVET, as a vital plank, the country could rework its education system as a highway, where the three drivers of educators, employers and young people walk similar paths towards productivity.
He pointed out until the 10th National Assembly, the committee did not exist as a stand-alone committee as its activities and oversights were hitherto subsumed under the broad committee on tertiary education.
This, he said, attested to the primacy of place the current House leadership gave to education, particularly technical education, and the conviction that a knowledge-based economy could be a panacea for development.
He said: “As we are aware, technical education deals with the learning process involving the study of technologies and interrelated sciences alongside acquisition of practical skills and approaches.
“These suites of knowledge are what our Polytechnics, Technical Colleges and Vocational Education Training, TVET, centres were designed to impact on our young population for competitiveness in the 21st century global skills market.
“Thriving in today’s innovation-driven economy, workers and entrepreneurs need a mix of conceptual knowledge and technical skills.
“The World Bank in its education strategy outlook, advised that growth, development and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills people acquire; and not by the number of years they stay in the classroom.
“In any country, technical education plays vital role in human resource development. It produces skilled workforce, augments productivity and helps improve the quality of life of the people. Without doubt, there is a nexus between the technical education system and socio-economic development.”
In his remarks, the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, posited there could be no significant economic growth in any country without adequate investment in education.
Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, the Speaker recommended technical skills development to address unemployment and its attendant challenges in the country.
Abbas said the world of information and technology had now shown that skills are not only triumphing but the boundless possibilities continue to wow the generation.
“Similarly, no nation can ignore the significant role education plays in increasing the productive capacity of its citizens towards national development and, therefore, investment in education becomes a pivotal element of every strategic government agenda.
“The need to design periodic programs such as this and many others is one of the relevant strategies to empower and strengthen institutions to provide the requisite skills for manpower development and value to existing labor strength and emerging markets for both private and public sectors.
“Evidence around the world shows that countries that have made progress in their overall quest for national development prioritize capacity building and human resource development. The unique role that polytechnics and higher technical education play in this process cannot be overemphasized. They provide access to specialized education that is aimed at empowering our students with the requisite skills needed to address the human resource gap in industry, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, vocational, and technical studies,” he said.