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EU Awards Scholarships to 40 Nigerian Students

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By Martin Paul, Abuja

The European Union (EU), under it ErasmuaT Programme, has awarded 40  Nigerian university students scholarships to study in European countries.

The Erasmus+ is a European Union flagship programme for higher education.

It offers opportunities to students and staff to attend or work with European Higher Education Institutions.

The Ambassador of the European Union delegation to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, who spoke about the scholarship during the pre-departure orientation for the students in Abuja, said the EU had supported young Nigerians who got the scholarship with 6.6 million Euros, about N2.6 billion since inception of the programme in 2014.

Larlsen said over 1000 students applied for the 2019 scholarship programme but only 40 of were selected.

“The students will be going to 10 different European Union countries.

Among the countries are Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, Poland, Netherlands and Germany.

“We have seen a high record because there has been a consistent increase in the number of students coming to Europe since 2014. This year’s scholarship scheme experienced an increase of 25 per cent. I cannot see a better way of investing in development opportunities for the youth. Over the decade, we have 12,000 Nigerians who have studied in Europe on a different scheme,” he said.

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The diplomat said the EU has supported Nigeria with about N600 million for development programmes across in the country.

Speaking on migration, Larlsen said the EU has seen a drop in irregular migration and an increase in regular migration.

 “This is a very powerful message because we want to engage Nigerians and we are not closing our borders. We are only saying there should not be irregular migration, people should not risk their lives,” he said.

He said the only challenge the EU faced was tracking some of the alumni of its educational programmes.

Education

NBTE Develops 60 Curricula for HND, ND, Others

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The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has developed over 60 new and reviewed curricula of the National Diploma (ND), and the Higher National Diploma (HND) curricula.

Specifically reviewed are the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Open, Distance and Flexible e-Learning (ODFeL) Courseware in Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).

Executive Secretary of NBTE, Prof.

Idris Bugaje, announced this at the public presentation of the new and reviewed ND, HND curricula, NOS and ODFeL in Abuja yesterday.

Bugaje said that the new and reviewed curricula was long overdue as they would help to provide general guide to institutions in determining the body of knowledge and skills, while also addressing the employability problems in the country.

According to him, the number of developed regulatory instruments to be unveiled represent just about 15 per cent of the total on offer.

He, therefore, stressed the need for the board to keep developing and reviewing more to bring them to national and international standards

“The board has a combined total of over 350 curricula, NOS and ODFEL course-ware in the Nigerian TVET system.

“The notable quality of these curricula is that they are industry-driven; developed and/or reviewed with the full participation of the Nigerian industries to address the employability problem that are often encountered by our diplomats upon graduation.

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“The problem of employers of labour incurring additional cost to retrain our products in order to fit into their operation is hopefully being solved.

” The peculiar type of training that should be given to Polytechnic and Monotechnic students in line with the national objective of encouraging youths economic self-reliance, entrepreneurship as a programme has, more than ever before, become one of the key features of the reviewed curricula,” he said.

He listed some of the new and reviewed curricula as ND/HND in Petroleum and Gas Processing Engineering, Transport, Planning and Management, Strategic Communication and Media Studies, Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Organic Agricultural Technology.

He also listed Homeland Security, Articulated Vehicle Driving, Construction Equipment Operation and Traditional and Herbal Hygiene as part of the new and reviewed NOS for skill training.

Bugaje added that the National Council on Establishment (NCE) at its last meeting in Yola, approved the inclusion of some of these TVET courses into the schemes of service of the Federation, particularly the National Innovation Diploma (NID).

He said that this had made two African countries to show interest in the quality of the country”s system with Rwanda signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) while Morocco was also in line to do so.

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The executive secretary, however, called on stakeholders and the government for continuous support in ensuring proper funding of the Skills Sector Council (SSC)  to drive the skill agenda forward.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu said the new development would mark the departure from the old practice where subject experts develop or review curricula without taking cognisance of the expectations of employers of labour.

Adamu, who was represented by the Director of Polytechnic Education and Allied Institutions, Dr Ejeh Usman, said the curricula would no doubt instill fresh ideas in the delivery and learning processes.

” I understand over 30 ND/HND curricula, 16 NOS and 18 Course-ware were either developed or reviewed in the last one and a half years, with the active involvement of the industry and the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

“This is a marked departure from the old practice where subject experts develop/review curricula without taking cognisance of the expectations of employers of labour, thus, making products of TVET institutions either unemployable or costing employers fortunes to retrain.

“It is in this regard that I consider the development of new curricula, especially in new and emerging fields, and the review of old ones, most of which have become obsolete, as very apt.

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“Specifically, it is worthy of note that some of the NOS that were reviewed were first developed in 1963 with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Since then, there was no effort to review them,” he said.

He said that usually curricula were supposed to be reviewed at most every five years, but some were now being reviewed after 20 years.

He said this called for serious efforts by all stakeholders, including TETFund, to ensure the review was carried out on time.

Responding, the Chairman of Council of Heads of Polytechnics and Colleges if Technology (COHEADS), Dr Samuel Kalagbor promised to ensure the full implementation of the new and reviewed curricula and expand the frontier of students training.

In attendance at the occasion were the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Registrar NABTEB, Prof. Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe and the Executive Secretary, NCCE, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, among others. (NAN)

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Education

New NYSC DG, Dogara Spells Out Action Plan

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By Evelyn Terseer – Abuja

The new Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier-General Yusha’u Dogara Ahmed, has promised to adopt a policy thrust that will drive the Scheme to a greater height as he assumed office.

Dogara who stated this in Abuja today while taking over from Christy Uba, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for finding him worthy to be appointed as the 22nd director general of the Scheme.

He succeeded Uba who was named the overseer of the NYSC in November 2022 following the sacking of Brigadier-General Muhammad Fadah by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his 6 points agenda, Dogara said he will improve the security, welfare of Corps
members and Staff to engender optimal service delivery to the nation, while providing enabling environment for Research and Development advancement of the Scheme.

He also promised to strengthen stakeholders’ engagement for the promotion of the frontiers of the Scheme and enhance capacity building to stimulate efficiency and higher corporate performance while deepening the impact of the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme.

“I assure you that I will not only sustain the high tempo but collectively, we will take the Scheme to greater heights.

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“This administration will be open and pay special attention to strategies that will bring the desired improvement in the general operations of the Scheme,” he said.

Earlier, the outgoing acting director general, Uba assured that the Management team will give the new director general maximum support to succeed.

She commended the staff for demonstrating loyalty, unity of purpose, and undiluted commitment to the success of the Scheme, while congratulating Dogara on the appointment.

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Economy

World Bank Commits $200m to Vocational Education in Nigeria – Official

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World Bank’s Senior Education Specialist in Nigeria, Mr Tunde Adekola, said the bank has committed 200 million dollars to the advancement of technical and vocational education in the country.

Adekola made the declaration yesterday in Abuja at the launch of the framework for National Apprenticeship and Traineeship System (NATS) organised by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in partnership a private company.

He said the fund was for a World Bank-assisted education project called Innovative Development for Effectiveness and Skills Acquisition in Nigeria.

He said it was part of the support given to the Nigerian government to turn technical and vocational education around.

According to him, it is a Federal Government project aimed at supporting three technical colleges in each of the six geopolitical zones to become Centres of Excellence.

He said Edo was chosen for the South-South, Benue for North Central, Kano State for Northwest, Gombe State for Northeast, Ekiti for Southwest and Abia for Southeast.

The specialist said that the funds would cover four thematic areas.

“It is a four year project and we are into the second year already,” he said.

Adekola said technical and vocational were the ways to go in solving skills gap in Nigeria.

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On the launch of the framework, he said there was a need for state actors and non-state actors to collaborate in institutionalising apprenticeship in Nigeria.

He said Nigeria was blessed with human resources, adding that what was required was innovation on how to turn such strength into wealth creation.

Adekola said it was important for ITF and other stakeholders to prioritise digital literacy, equitable representation of women and people living with disabilities in their plans.

In his remarks, the Director-General of ITF, Mr Joseph Ari, said the launch was part of efforts to deploy skills acquisition to combat unemployment and poverty, while ensuring overall growth.

He said the framework, which was a policy document, focused on adoption and institutionalisation of NATS.

“The pathway to this current policy of NATS came about on account of a robust trajectory of vision formulation.

“At inception of the current management of ITF in 2016, the Reviewed Vision for Mandate Actualisation was put in place.

“By the middle of 2022, the ITF, leveraging on new training trends, realised the need to refocus its operations along indices that will escalate job and wealth creation.

“We had synergies and experience with Germany on its Dual System, Crown Agents of the UK, Senai of Brazil and GIMI of Israel.

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“All of them emphasised apprenticeship, so it became imperative to develop a new vision along that pathway.

“The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body of the Organised Private Sector, and the Skills for Prosperity, UK became readily available.

“In this regard, issues like inauguration and sensitisation of stakeholders, development of framework and validation were successfully concluded.

“Today is the fruition of this laudable process, which is aimed at adding value to Federal Government’s job and wealth creation efforts.

Ari said when implemented, the framework had the potential to drastically reduce unemployment, while affording youths the opportunity to earn income while learning.

He added that the framework would enhance eligibility for financial assistance while on training and ensure a structured approach to skills acquisition and certification.

According to him, this will lead to an increase in the number of Medium and Small Scale Enterprises.

The director-general also said the framework would tackle underemployment, social vices and crime rate and improve quality of services offered by technicians and craftsmen.

He said the fund was partnering with various stakeholders on other projects that would help it deliver to on its mandate.

Team Lead of the private company, the technical partner for the drafting of the framework, Ms Sybil Ferris, said Lagos and Kaduna states were used as pilot.

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She said trainings and skills acquisition programmes were conducted in the two states and some of the trainees were offered jobs among other incentives. (NAN)

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