The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has emphasized the importance of vocational education for national development.

Fashola stated this at a one day stakeholder’s meeting organized by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria( COREN)  on how to proffer solutions to the decline of Technical Education in Nigeria with the theme “Technical Education Manpower Shortage”  held recently in Abuja.

The minister mentioned Singapore, South Africa and Canada as countries that have progressed through priority accorded to vocational education, advising  policy makers to emulate these countries.

The minister called on the Federal Government to articulate effective and responsive Technical and Vocational Education System, which will accommodate Nigeria’s vast social, economic, educational and cultural conditions for national development.

Fashola also said that plan is on-going  to strengthen Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency, (FERMA) to engage artisans and craftsmen in roads maintenance.

Earlier, President of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, (COREN), Engr. Kashim Ali, said  the conference was informed by dearth of technical colleges which has led to non-existence of qualified craftsmen and technicians in Nigerian engineering sector.

Kashim noted that artisans and technicians constitute a major manpower of the value chain in the engineering service delivery.

He said, “The dearth of indigenous artisans and technicians in the engineering sector has negative impact on economy, and as the skills gap continues to widen, there has been huge capital flight as expatriates come in to fill the lacuna at the detriment of the country.”

The Chairman, House Committee on Works,  Toby Okechukwu, charged the stakeholders to address the shortage of artisans and technicians within the profession, otherwise hiring expatriates will continue to exist because the vacuum cannot be left unfilled.

 By Mustapha Suleiman

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