VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION AS A TOOL FOR ADDRESSING YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGERIA
The success of Vocational And Technical Education (VTE) in any country can be considered a key indicator of the country„s advancement in technology. For a country to evolve into a technologically advanced one, VTE must have played an active and vital role. With a growing population like Nigeria, youth placement in education and/or work is very critical. Studies have revealed that youth participation in education and skills training in Nigeria is inadequate, hence their vulnerability in terms of employment. In view of these situations the Vocational And Technical Education (VTE) sector which has the potential to generate job opportunities for the youth needs to be promoted. The regulatory body in the VTE has to be strengthened and given the necessary independence to provide an enabling environment for private participation in the sector to develop and create the much needed jobs for the youth. In view of the above, this paper discusses consequence of youth unemployment, state of the youth unemployment, VTE and employment prospects for the youth, employment problems of the youth and VTE sector as job creation opportunity for the youth
Vocational And Technical Education (VTE) is an education and training to “acquire the practical skills, know-how and understanding necessary for employment in a particular occupation, trade or group of occupations or trades”( UNESCO 2001). This conceptual definition of VTE cuts across education levels (post- primary, secondary, and even tertiary) and sectors (formal or school-based, non-formal or enterprise based and informal or tradition apprenticeship). The World Bank (2005), International Labour Organization (ILO) (2002), United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2002), and other organizations have recently shown drive towards actively recognizing a new role of VTE. However, UNESCO who is at the vanguard of VTE promotion had the following objectives established at the Seoul Congress (UNESCO in Abdullahi 2001):
- To provide VTE for all;
- To orient VTE for sustainable development;
- To strengthen VTE as an integral component of lifelong learning
Youths represent the future and hope of every country, today‟s youth are tomorrow‟s workers, entrepreneurs, parents, active citizens and leaders. In light of these great functions that youth is liable to play; it can only be achieved if they are empowered through active and powerful approaches. As economic and technological change gathers pace, youth people everywhere need to develop their knowledge and skills, on a continuous basis, so that they can live and work meaningfully in the knowledge society especially in the era of the current global economic crisis (Linda 2009). As noted earlier, Vocational and Technical Education and Training contribute to an individual‟s personal development, increase his/her productivity and incomes at work, and facilitate everybody‟s participation in economic and social life. In addition, VTE can also help individuals to escape poverty by providing them with the skills and knowledge to raise their output and generate income. Investing in VTE will be therefore an investment in the future. This is because knowledge and skills are the engine of economic growth and social development.
According to UNESCO and ILO (2002) that the effort to provide Vocational and Technical Education and training for all youth and adults will underpin the economic and social
development of countries by ensuring the capacity of people to learn and provide the foundation for their employability and access to decent work. This is also one of the key policy challenges in the ILO‟s Global Employment Agenda; Education (2002). UNESCO and ILO (2002) further reported that in a time of continuous economic, social and technological change, skills and knowledge become quickly out-of-date. As such youth who have not been able to benefit from formal education and training must be given opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge that will give them a second chance in life and at work.