Skills devt: NBTE advocates merging of ITF, NDE

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The Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje, has called for the harmonisation of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) for effective skills development in the country.

Bugaje said this in Abuja on Thursday, at its seventh edition of Industry Partnership for Skills Development.
He said that the duo were duplicating functions which was not allowing them to focus on the mandates they were set up for.

He noted that the introduction of apprenticeship training under the Nigeria Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) across the country right from Technical Colleges was urgently needed.

“The ITF and NDE are duplicating functions and are loosing focus from their earlier mandates“.

They should be merged or harmonised into a new platform on a new paradigm, to be known as National Skills Fund (NSF) to become the leading Nigerian Skills Qualifications (NSQ) Training Funding Providers including Students’ SIWES Funding.

“For the informal skills sector (such as, Panteka in Kaduna, Kofar-Ruwa in Kano, Araria Market in Aba, etc.) Polytechnics across the country should roll out NSQ training for those skills sets,” he said.

Bugaje also called for the establishment of a National Skills Bank(NSB) to support small scale entrepreneurs at the end of their training at very low interest rates.

He added that NSF could support NSB especially when industry contributions were enhanced with NSQF providing a pragmatic platform for all stakeholders on skills development.

He, therefore, called for an Act of the National Assembly to legally back it up and as well entrench it deeply, thereby collapsing all other skills training programmes into it.

The executive secretary further said that there was need for the upgrading of facilities of Technical Colleges for NSQ Training in terms of infrastructure and equipment.

He added that polytechnics must be made to run full time skills training leading to NSQ Levels 3 – 6, by setting up Centres of Skills Training, saying students in these Colleges would not be admitted via JAMB, but rather through a proficiency assessment (RPL).

Earlier, the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukuemeka Nwajiuba, who represented Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, lamented the gaps that existed in the skill industry.

He said that the country had not done enough to address these gaps saying it was high time the nation embraced international best practices.

“There is a gap between policy makers and those who actually drive the policy during project implementation. Our purpose should be to assess gaps using what we believe are the solution“.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has a task of trying to identify these gaps and figure out how the ministry of education, acting through the National Board for Technical Education can then fill in.

“That is what led to this programme. There is some serious gap in this sector but we haven’t done enough to resolve it, the skill gaps are still there,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event brought together experts in the various industries to find a lasting solutions to addressing skill gaps in the country.(NAN)

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