Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola has called for improved technical and vocational education system that can compete in the 21st Century knowledge-and-technology-driven world.
He implored the stakeholders in the education sector to develop a technical and vocational education roadmap so as to take care of middle-level manpower and create jobs for the teeming youths.
Governor Oyetola spoke on Monday while declaring open the 79th Plenary Meeting of the Joint Consultative Committees on Education (JCCE) in Osogbo, the state capital.
The JCCE stakeholders’ meeting with the theme: “Education for Self-Reliance: A Tool for the Achievement of Education 2030 Agenda”, brought together education giants from all walks of life which include the Permanent Secretaries of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and other stakeholders in the sector.
The meeting was intended to address the decadence in the education system and chart a new course to ensure quality, qualitative and functional education in Nigeria.
The governor, who was represented by Head of Service, Dr Festus Olowogboyega, said the nation’s unsteady development since independence remains the proof that education sector has not responded appropriately to the needs of the people.
He emphasized the need for government at all levels to invest more on technical and vocational education as panacea to the country’s socio-economic and political quagmire.
Governor Oyetola enjoined the participants to come up with recommendations that would assist the various participating state governments in achieving qualitative and functional education capable of lifting the nation out of the lingering quagmire in education sector.
Oyetola said his government had made education a critical component of its agenda in the quest to move the state to the next level of development.
He said his government had developed a road map to tackle decadence in the education sector and continually increase access to quality education that will empower citizens to realize their full potential.
He said the state had resolved to galvanise her resources to properly harness the potentials in the vocational and technical education by upgrading all vocational and technical institutions to make them more vibrant and fit to educate the youths for the demands of a technology-driven and fast-paced world.
He said, “It is expected that the quality of your recommendations would assist the various state governments in achieving qualitative and functional education and in lifting the nation out of the lingering quagmire in education sector.
“The nation’s unsteady development since independence is proof that our education sector has yet to appropriately respond to the needs of the people and recently, the requirements of the New Millennium.
“There are obvious gaps to fill in the areas of technical and vocational education yo take care of middle-level manpower challenges and entrepreneurship education to attain self-reliance and create jobs for our teeming youths and Civic education to entrench political and citizenship education to weld our drivers and multi-religious/multi-ethnic nation together.
“I would like to implore these Committees to look at the content, personnel and facility components of the technical/technological education, entrepreneurship and civic education do that our nation can compete in the knowledge-and-technology-driven 21st Century World.
“I urge you to use this medium to offer creative and innovative recommendations and outcomes that will inspire hope and the needed development to the nation.”
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education,Mr. Sonny Echono, said the meeting was organised to chat a new course to address the decadence in the education sector.
Echono, who described education as the only instrument to achieve human, capital and socio-economic developments, said the time had come for government at all levels to give education its prime position.
Represented by the Director, Basic Senior Education, Dr. Lami Ahmodu, Echono said, with the depression in the labour market coupled with the unprecedented socioeconomic challenges facing the country, education must be tailored towards the acquisition of skills and abilities that can make the individual a productive and self-reliant members of the society.
He called on govennments to strengthen secondary education sub-sector as part of efforts to bring about the potential embedded in the young ones for national development.
Echono said: “Since the wide economic gap between developing and developed countries is traceable to their level of technological development and the extent to which vocational and technical education is encouraged and pursued, hence need to develop road map that will close the skill gap by developing a workable, comprehensive, technical and vocational education and training policy that pays sufficient attention to skills and know-how.
“This will require curriculum review, strengthening of existing entrepreneurship framework, straining of more teachers in entrepreneurship subjects and attitudinal change for the achievements of education 2030 Agenda”, he said.
Osun State Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Mr. Festus Olajide, assured that the meeting would come up with useful and workable recommendations to help to promote education to engender self-reliance.
Olajide said the government had started the implementation of its 10years, 2019-2028, Education Sector Development Plan as part of efforts to reposition education system in the state.
According to him, the 10 years Education Sector Development Plan is designed to provide education that would produce individuals who are literates, critical thinkers, problem solvers, innovators and virtuous citizens.
He said: “Our state has recorded many achievements in education and two of which are the, decentralization of school administration and management through creation of three education districts for effective control and evaluation of teaching and learning environment for teachers and students”, he said.
Among the dignitaries were members of the Osun Education Steering Committee; members of the House of Assembly, top government functionaries, heads of agencies, senior civil servants; traditional rulers led by the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran; market women, volunteers of the Osun State Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) among others.