Updated: Apr 15
This is my final write-up on the Nigerian Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Challenge series. If you recall, in my previous article, I shared my thoughts on how we can create a TVET ecosystem that caters to students within our primary and secondary school education system. This model which is a collaboration between the federal, state and private sectors – if successfully implemented would provide TVET hubs and facilities across the country leading to the employment of thousands of TVET facilitators, empowerment of small enterprises and the establishment of a viable and functional TVET ecosystem.
The second leg of the TVET model, which is quite similar to the first, is the informal TVET framework. This will be targeted at Nigerian youths and other individuals outside the formal school system. To this end, it is critical that we create a clear pathway for anyone outside the formal school system to pick up TVET skills in an easy, accessible and affordable manner.
Do we need to go on another Building Spree of Vocation Centers to do this?
NO! Like I stated in my previous article; “this would be unsustainable as we don’t have the resources and such an intervention would be susceptible to corruption. In my opinion, the most feasible way of providing TVET infrastructure nationwide would be to create an economy around a TVET model that would incentivize the private sector to be involved in the provision, training, delivery and management of TVET facilities across the country.”
Furthermore, in countries where the TVET ecosystem has been successfully established, the government, in partnership with the private sector, has taken the lead in making this happen and we must pursue a similar direction in Nigeria to solve our TVET challenge. According to records from the regulator of technical education in Nigeria – National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), there are over 2000 formal and informal TVET Institutions in Nigeria. Many of these institutions do not cater for students to their full seating capacity. While work is ongoing to set up new centers, this model is to spearhead a solution to mobilize enrolment to these institutions at a subsidized rate for learners.
During my time in Lagos State as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, (2015 – 2019) I spearheaded the implementation of several human capacity development initiatives including ReadySetWork, Code Lagos, Eko Nke Koo (Lagos is Learning) amongst others. I was also assigned the task of developing a TVET framework for the state. Due to this assignment, my team and I visited several vocation centers across the state and while some were ill-equipped and lacked quality facilities, others astounded us with their level of organization and high-tech equipment. ETIWA TECH LTD/GTE, headquartered in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, was one of my favorites in this respect. ETIWA’s courses are designed to improve the skill level and efficiency of artisans and technicians. However, we found that the majority of these TVET centers, such as ETIWA, were underutilized, as there were many vacant seats and only about 30% of their seating capacity was completely utilized.
In addition, we met with key TVET stakeholders in Germany and Brazil, both of which have world-class TVET ecosystems. We also had the opportunity to engage with other TVET organizations from across Nigeria and one of the most significant conclusions from these investigations was the systemic underutilization of TVET centers across the country. As a result, this model strives to fully optimize the TVET facility and seating capacity of all available vocation centers across each state.
To this end, the Out of School Model aims to ensure that various State Governments work closely with already established TVET Service Providers (TSPs) to successfully implement this model. Similarly, the state would incentivize the TSPs by negotiating for their under-utilized TVET centers' capacity. They would then offer to fund and deploy students to fill up their underutilized spaces at a discounted rate. These students will be co-funded by the state, NGO’s and other private contributors to increase TVET graduates’ turnout by leveraging existing underused TVET centers – thereby creating an economy that is self-sustaining and attractive for the private sector to invest in.
So How Does This Out of School TVET Model Work?
I envisage a model based on 2 Key Pillars: The State Government and the TVET Service Providers (TSPs). Each of these two pillars will function in a distinct but harmonized capacity as outlined below:
1. THE STATE GOVERNMENT
Under this model, the following are expected from the state government:
(a) State-Based TVET Centers Audit
The state through the state agencies responsible for TVET will undergo a state-based audit of all TVET centers across the state. This audit will be carried out to capture the exact location, seating capacity, equipment’s etc. – to ensure that every state is made aware of its available TVET centers to fully optimize all under-utilized TVET centers across the state.
(b) Contract and Negotiation
Similar to the previous model, the state will enter into negotiations with the TSPs that have underutilized seating capacity in their TVET centers. These negotiations will cover fees for the vacant spaces, the terms and conditions of the proposed contract and any other relevant parameters needed for the successful implementation of this model.
(c) Monitoring and Evaluation
Transparent, cost-effective monitoring and evaluation framework must be put in place to ensure TSPs comply with the terms and conditions agreed. Ultimately, the ability of the state government to facilitate a transparent, cost-effective monitoring and evaluation model where all TVET centers are properly monitored is critical for the successful implementation of this model.
(d) Student Placement
The state in partnership with relevant stakeholders would be responsible for putting in place a transparent student placement framework where interested and qualified individuals would be able to receive TVET training in various centers across the state.
2. THE TVET SERVICE PROVIDERS (TSPS)
The following are expected from the TSPs:
The fee to be paid for the available seats in underutilized vocation centers will be negotiated, as this is crucial to the success of this model. However, it is worthy of note that without these state incentives (discounted fees offer) those underutilized seats will remain vacant and any effort by the government to maximize these vacancies in TVET centers is a more lucrative venture than a mere 30% utilization.
The TSPs that have come to an agreement with the government, will now commence training of qualified TVET students in their various locations across the state.
So, what can stop us from ACHIEVING this?
This is what I call the discipline of execution. Jim Rohn did say, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
Over our past 60 years as a nation, we have struggled with the proper implementation of projects and we must ensure we take deliberate steps to break this trend. In order to successfully implement this model, we must guarantee – Transparency, Accountability and Continuous Evaluation of our TVET system.
Asides from all these, the most critical factor is the heart, desire, sincere determination and capacity to improve the lives of average Nigerians. If we adopt this mindset, we would be able to resolve our TVET challenge and other prevailing issues within our nation.
Till the next time we meet here, remember we all have “A Role to Play”.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Education Interventions,
Federal Republic of Nigeria