Economic Introduction to Vocational Education in Nigeria
The economy refers to the system by which a country’s money and goods are produced and used. We all know that despite several economic strategies and reforms, the Nigerian economy tends to continue to nose-dive. Nigeria does not appear to be able to gain economic independence! Inflation, low living standards for the masses, unemployment, under-employment, etc. are all economic ailments that are still plaguing the nation. Nigeria is still indebted and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Goss National Product (GNP) still leaves much to be desired.
The reason may be attributable to Nigeria’s inability to equip its its citizens (human resources) with the right kind of education.
A lot of evidence are available to prove that technological breakthroughs must precede economic breakthrough. Most of the world economic giants of today e.g. USA, Japan, Germany, e.t.c. attained that status by first developing their people technologically. Harbison (1973:39) as cited in Ekpenyong & Nwabuisi (2001) rightly sees human resource as being more important than other factors of production. He warned that any nation which is not able to develop the skills and knowledge of its people and utilize them effectively in the national economy will be unable to do any other thing.
This is indeed a great challenge to developing economies such as Nigeria. We will consider the relationship between vocational education and the Nigeria economy under the following sub-headings:
Economic demands of Vocational Education
Economic expectations from Vocational Education
Funding of Vocational Education
i. Economic Demands of Vocational Education
Vocational education is a capital-intensive field of study because it is based on skills and practicals. A lot of tools, equipment, machinery, buildings, e.t.c. are usually involved unlike in liberal education where a piece of chalk and chalkboard would normally suffice.
You will recall that some colonial officials felt vocational education was too expensive and not “really necessary” for Nigerians. This wrong impression was passed on to Nigerians themselves and tends to have eaten deep into the fabric of the nation’s life. By the time we realized the consequences of this negligence, much water had passed under the bridge. Our economy and society was already suffering for it. Unfortunately, we did not show (and probably) have not shown enough commitment financially and otherwise to this field of study. This explains why vocational education is still undeveloped when compared with other conventional fields of study.
Even the National Policy on education (2004:60) describes education generally as an expensive social service which requires adequate financial provision from all tiers of government for successful implementation of the education programmes. This is even truer for vocational education than for conventional type of education.
A lot of money is needed to build and equip laboratories, demonstration farms, keyboarding or fine arts studios, workshops, personnel recruitment etc. Unfortunately, financial constraints seem to hamper progress in those areas.
The truth is that the nation needs to invest more money into vocational education in order to reap valued returns from this broad, career-oriented field of study.
ii. Economic Expectations of Vocational Education
When vocational technical education has been adequately invested upon, intelligently articulated, and properly executed it should be able to meet the following economic needs and expectations of the nation and its its citizens.
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- Development of individuals who are equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills for productive work life;
- Development of individuals who are capable of meeting modern technological challenges.
- Development of a pool of competent and reliable technical manpower capable of being mobilized in times of national and economic emergency and crisis.
- Development of the youths, with right attitudes, skills and aptitudes towards work;
- Equipping of the youth with requisite knowledge and skills for paid employment or self-employment.
- Preparing the youths for meeting community, state and national human resource needs.
- Enabling the individuals to choose and perfect knowledge and skills in those vocational areas for which they have interests and aptitudes.project topics nigeria
- Enabling individuals to develop sound economic reasoning and make good economic decisions, in the production and/or consumption of goods and services;
- Enabling youths to relate their knowledge, skills and expertise to the needs of their local communities.project topics nigeria
- Preparing industrial managers/Chief Executive Officers who are capable of meeting the technological and managerial complexities of a modern industrial society.
- Establishing and maintaining a functional link between school and industry in matters affecting vocational education and the world of work. (adapted from Ekpenyong and Nwabuisi 2001)project topics nigeria
Generally this will inject vibrancy into the economy by increasing productivity while checking unemployment and inflation. In the long run the Gross Domestic Product (GPD) of the nation will also step up the living standards of the people. http://www.research.projectandmaterials.com
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