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Understanding Technical Education in Nigeria

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As direct as this may sound, not everybody needs a university education. If we all went to universities instead of obtaining technical education, where would we get hands-on practical knowledge?

Yet, in spite of its obvious contributions in Nigeria, the sector is yet to be accorded the recognition and support it deserves. This has led to rising unemployment, crime and poverty in today’s Nigeria.

Technical education is a facet of education that facilitates the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. It is a practical-oriented education which makes it unique in its content and approach.

It provides general technical knowledge and prepares people for entry into recognized occupations at a higher level but usually lower than the first degree.

The aim of technical education is to provide a foundation of skills for young people and adults and prepare them for useful occupations, particularly for skilled trades and semiprofessional careers.

Its programs are mostly offered as a series of courses augmented by work-based experiences like internship and apprenticeship, a distinctive feature of technical education.

Some areas commonly associated with technical education are:

  • Business (office administration, entrepreneurship)
  • Trade and Manufacturing (automotive technician, carpenter, building)
  • Technology (computer-based careers)
  • Health (nursing, dental, and medical technicians)
  • Agriculture (food and fiber production, agribusiness)
  • Consumer Sciences (culinary arts, food tech)
  • Marketing (merchandising, retail)

As the world is evolving, so also are educational systems. However, there is a gradual decline in enrollment at technical colleges and technical education at large. University education is now in greater demand than technical education.

What are the factors that affect technical education in today’s Nigeria?

Discrimination

It is no news that employers of labor favor university graduates more than they do technical college graduates. People see university degrees as “more prestigious” than a diploma.

This has led to declined interest in enrollment in technical colleges because there is no assurance of getting a job after graduation.

Underequipped facilities

Most laboratories and workshops are underequipped while for the others, they aren’t functional. This has made it difficult for students to practice and learn.

Brain drain

Lecturers are underpaid due to poor funding of the colleges. This has led to their looking for “greener pastures” outside Nigeria. Those who do not have the means to travel are venturing into other career paths.

Outdated curriculum

Most courses are outdated. They have foreign illustrations which cannot be applied to local situations. Also, some courses are still 70% theory-based. This does not give room for practical application.

The future of technical education is Nigeria is bleak but this can be remedied. There should be deliberate and concerted efforts to inculcate in people the need for technical education especially in today’s Nigeria where technical skills are important.

Technology is a powerful tool and it can be used to improve upon the foundation of technical education.


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