By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Do you know that the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, is always at home with the issues of development? Are you aware that the Head of Oodua Group of Companies paid a courtesy call on Mr Governor and at the occasion catechized the strength and fault-lines of the conglomerate in global competitiveness? Do you know that while Mr Governor was commending the group for moving from seeming decline to relative prosperity, he suggested that some of the moribund companies under the group should be re-capitalised to grow the economy and drive employment of youth? Are you not bothered that Nigeria is now playing hosts to brick-layers, plumbers, floor-tilers, painters, cement-work artists and interior decorators from countries of the ECOWAS region because of inadequate skill acquisition by our school leavers? Do you know that foreigners are the ones reaping huge resources invested into our hospitality business? Do you know that Governor Oyetola has now come up with Life Academy to reverse this trend, providing opportunities for skill acquisition to all artisans and youths? Do you know that this initiative will make the economy of the State competitive?
Do you know that an economy has to be competitive? Do you know that the productivity level and rate of return on investments are sure magnets to attract investors? Are you aware that among the reasons for the poor competitiveness status of the economy of Nigeria are macroeconomic instability, infrastructure failure, weak institutions, poor quality of manpower, and slow pace of technological development? Do you know that we need immediate development of Agriculture, solid minerals, tourism and the service sectors of the economy? Do you know that Nigeria must invest heavily to upgrade infrastructure, reduce corruption, and develop the capacity to acquire modern technology through emphasis on technical education, and other knowledge resources required to meet the challenges of the 21st century? Do you know that our country must create market-focused value proposition to attract other countries in new initiatives in agriculture, mining, tourism, service industry to maximise a value-chain compatible with sustainable growth? Do you know that Oyetola’sLife Academy is the answer? Come along, please.
Are you aware that in the current challenging socio-economic circumstance in which Nigeria finds itself, we need urgent attention through diversification, restructuring, strengthening of institutions and the necessary policy interventions required to move Nigeria towards sustainable economic growth and development? Are you aware that most African and Asian countries who were at the same level of economic development with Nigeria in the 1960s, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and South Korea, have overtaken her due to ineffective technical education? Do you know that Nigeria now belongs to the group of Extremely Poor Countries as published by the World Bank, officially declared as the world poverty capital? Do you know that we have high infrastructure deficit estimated to be in the region of $500 billion, about 120million Nigerians lack access to electricity which makes it difficult for Nigerian firms to compete globally? Do you know that curable diseases are taking their toll on the productivity of the labour force with the associated loss of man-hours in the economy?
Do you know that an estimated 56 million people in Nigeria are illiterates including 10.5 million out of school children? Are you aware that we produce poor quality unemployable graduates who can hardly practice their profession? Do you know that there is a weak linkage between educational institutions and industry? Do you know that ICT penetration in Nigeria is still very low- in a world that is becoming increasingly knowledge-based? Are you aware that with poverty at 70% and unemployment at 25% we lack the purchasing power that is required to effectively stimulate and drive the consumption of goods and services to sustain healthy living? Do you know that our preference for foreign goods are killing the local factories? Do you know that there is slack in the protection of property rights and Copyright laws, thus frustrating intellectual property rights? Do you know that strong commitment to vocational education will reverse these ugly trends? Do you know that the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola has re-defined vocational education in the State of Osun by providing state of the art equipment for all the Technical Colleges in the State by turning them to life academy to train students, new entrepreneurs and re-kit all other artisans in the State? Do you know that programmes of the Colleges will be run both in the day and evenings? What is this vocational education? Vocational Education prepares people for self-employment. Do you know that the World Bank’s 2019 World Development Report on the future of work suggests that flexibility between general and vocational education particularly in higher education is imperative to enable workers to compete in changing labour markets where technology plays an increasingly important role? Do you know that Technical and Vocational Education is important for social equity and inclusion? Do you know Wilhelm von Humboldt? Come along.
Wilhelm von Humboldt (22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a Prussian philosopher government functionary and founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin, which was named after him in 1949. He pioneered Humboldtian vocational education ideal for German which still makes it a model. Do you know that from the orientation of Vocational Education he bequeathed to Germany, that country, despite fighting two World Wars is still the strongest economy in Europe? His letter to the King of Prussia (Germany) cuts in:
“There are undeniably certain kinds of knowledge that must be of a general nature and, more importantly, a certain cultivation of the mind and character that nobody can afford to be without. People obviously cannot be good craftworkers, merchants, soldiers or businessmen unless, regardless of their occupation, they are good, upstanding and – according to their condition – well-informed human beings and citizens. If this basis is laid through schooling, vocational skills are easily acquired later on, and a person is always free to move from one occupation to another, as so often happens in life.”
Do you know the secret of the development of Argentina is the massive development of vocational education which took place during the period between World War I and World War II? Do you know that during the presidency of Juan Perón, the first formal apprenticeship and vocational training programmes were offered free of charge across the country, eventually becoming the National Workers’ University under the National Vocational Programmes Law 13229, implemented on August 19, 1948? Do you know that in Australia vocational education still incorporates apprenticeship system? Do you know that Melbourne Polytechnic and others are now offering specialised Bachelor’s degrees in beer-brewing, wine-making and viticulture, aqua-culture, information technology, music, illustration, culinary management and many more? Do you know that in Finland, vocational education belongs to secondary education and prepares students for the police school, air traffic control duties, personnel training, ambulance training, emergency management, event management to mention but a few? Do you know that in Finland, education in vocational school is free, and students from low-income families are eligible for a state student grant? Are you aware that in Hong Kong, vocational education is usually for post-secondary students? Do you know that the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education provides training in nine different vocational fields, namely: applied science, business administration, child education and community services, construction, design, printing, textiles and clothing, hotel service and tourism studies, information technology, electrical and electronic engineering, and mechanical, manufacturing and industrial engineering?
Do you know that India has been promoted on the matrix of development by its good quality vocational education? Do you know that in November 2014 the Government in India formed the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to articulate the need for such a Ministry to look after promoting entrepreneurship and skill development and to promoting skilled manpower? Do you know that in South Korea, Vocational schools offer programmes in five fields such as agriculture, technology/engineering, commerce/business, maritime/fishery, and home economics? Do you know that in Sweden and Israel, vocational education gives priorities to local needs? Do you know that the ‘Grammar School’ model inherited by us from Britain is our greatest undoing? Do you know that the United States is home to vocational education and that is its greatest asset that it is using to ‘intimidate’ the world under Trump? Are you aware of Agenda 2063? You care? Come along.
Do you know that it is Africa’s blueprint for transforming Africa into the global recognition? Do you know that it is an affirmation of the commitment of African leaders to support Africa’s new path for attaining inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development? Are you aware that it was signed at the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the formation of the African Union in May 2013? Do you know that Agenda 2063 is the concrete manifestation of how the continent intends to achieve this vision within a 50 year period from 2013 to 2063.Do you know that Agenda 2063 encapsulates rapid transformation of the continent through skills, knowledge, talents and commitment of its young people?
Do you know that skills development in Africa is firmly rooted in Agenda 2063 which considers it a mechanism for eliminating youth unemployment? Do you know that the Agenda states that this will be through strengthening the technical and vocational education and training through scaled up investments, the establishment of a pool of high-quality Technical and Vocational Centres across Africa, greater links with industry and alignment to labour markets, with a view to improve the skills profile, employability and entrepreneurship of especially youth and women, and closing the skills gap across the continent? Are you aware that the Agenda states further that implementation will also be within the wider global framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goal 4 which aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.SDG 4, target 4.4, talks of “substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.”? Do you know that the agenda expects Nigeria and all its States to key in to fulfil the goal? Can you now see that Mr Adegboyega Oyetola is on the right track to pursue functional vocational education to drive youth employment in the State? Part of the Agenda cuts in: “ The aspirations therein “reflect our desire for shared prosperity and well-being, for unity and integration, for a continent of free citizens and expanded horizons, where the full potential of women and youth are realized, and with freedom from fear, disease and want. Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 specifically talks of an Africa where Development is People-Driven, Unleashing the Potential of its Women and Youth.”
Do you know that youth unemployment is a major concern of many African governments as over 20% of the youth population of about 200 million in sub-Saharan Africa are either unemployed or in low-paid or precarious jobs? Do you know that on the streets of major African cities, an increasing population of out-of-school youth and adults compete dangerously for space in-between moving vehicles as street vendors and hawkers? Do you know that there are estimated 173 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 years, most of whom have entered the world of work from childhood with limited education and skills for decent employment and jobs? Do you know that statistics showed that every year, 8 to 10 million poorly skilled young Africans make the difficult transition from school to the labour market, where they end up in hazardous employment with no prospect of further education or developing their skills? Do you know that graduates of higher education institutions are not spared the frustration of seeking and not finding jobs and in countries such as Zambia, Ethiopia and Nigeria, young graduates may take up to 5 years after training before finding a job? Do you know that they are ready reserves for conflicts, kidnapping, cyber-crime, human trafficking and drug trade?
Do you know that a paradigm shift means that skills development policies must extend outside the borders of the formal school system which is the basis of Life Academy now promoted by Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun? Do you know that the introduction of appropriate technology and modern apprenticeship system and new practices in the agricultural sector through the modernization of the Farm Settlement system and regulating artisanal mining in mining corridors in the State of Osun are the ways to go? Do you know that the State House of Assembly must be prepared for immediate legislative and governance framework to support these new reforms to create employment for women and youths? Do you know that as we are trying to promote vocational education, there is the need to promote women too?
Do you know that women are criticizing the appointment of only seven women out of forty three Minister designates appointed by President Buhari translating to 16.27 per cent instead of 35 per cent in the Affrmative Action bill submitted by the same President to the National Assembly in 2017, a bill that was rejected by the House? The names of the new female Ministers are: Sharon Ikeazor, Zainab Ahmed, GbemisolaSaraki, RamatuTijjani-Aliyu, Sadiya Farouk, Mariam Katagun and Pauline Tallen. Do you know that the entire world is now promoting the cause of women including Saudi Arabia? Have you heard the news? Do you know that according to a new Royal Decree, women in Saudi Arabia can now travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission? Do you know that the new rule was announced on Friday 2nd August, 2019 and allows women over the age of 21 to apply for a passport without authorisation, putting them on an equal footing to men? Do you know that women are also being granted the right to register childbirth, marriage or divorce? Do you know that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had sought to ease social restrictions on women, including lifting a driving ban last year, in a bid to open up the kingdom to put the women into traction of social engineering? Do you know that this change has altered Saudi’s male guardianship system ? Do you know that Saudi Arabia now has a woman as Ambassador to the United States, the first woman to become an envoy for the kingdom, Reemabint Bandar Al Saud? Why was this new right approved? Come along, please.The statement of Reemabint Bandar Al Saud on the new change cuts in: “ I am elated to confirm that KSA will be enacting amendments to its laborand civil laws that are designed to elevate the status of Saudi women within our society, including granting them the right to apply for passports and travel independently.”
The date was August 2005. The place was a court in the northern part of Saudi Arabia. The court ordered the divorce of a 34-year-old mother of two (named Fatima Mansour) from her husband, on the instruction of her half brother. The woman claimed that they were happily married and her father (now deceased) had approved the marriage. Her refusal made her to spend four years in jail with her daughter before the Supreme Judicial Council overturned the decision. In another development, in July 2013, King Fahd Hospital in Al Bahah postponed amputating a critically injured woman’s hand because she had no male legal guardian to authorize the procedure. Her husband died in the same car crash that left her and her daughter critically injured. Equally, in 2008, a male guardian abused his power to approve marrying off his eight-year-old daughter to a 47-year-old man to have his debts forgiven, despite a plea to the contrary by the wife. . This customary law has now been relaxed. Do you know that Saudi women were allowed to drive cars more than a year ago? Do you know that Saudi women can now watch games in the Stadium with their male counterparts? Are you aware that a Saudi Tourism Official announced that women older than 24 years will be granted a tourist visa without a male guardian? Do you know that female tourists can now travel to the Kingdom without being accompanied by any male? Do you know that this is part of the bid to open up the country which is an agenda of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled in 2016 to transform the economy by 2030, with the aim of increasing women’s participation in the workforce to 30% from 22%? Do you know that the Kingdom is also busy with numerous tourism developments such as a luxury resort by the Red Sea, the new Neom Development Initiative and renovation of a number of the historical and archeological sites throughout the country and encouraging vocational education for women? Do you know that Nigerian women, particularly in the North, should be more encouraged in vocational education? Do you know that female literacy in the Saudi is estimated to be 91%, not far behind that of men? Can you now see that we have no excuse not to educate girl child to any level in Nigeria?
Do you know that we have to improve on the way we treat women? Are you aware that a 2019 report by the International Republic Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) revealed that the Nigerian Senate has the lowest rate of women’s legislative participation in Sub-Saharan African? Do you know that the quality of the development of women will determine the greatness of our country? Do you know that our population structure shows that women constitute 49 per cent of the population? Do you know that we just have to popularize vocational education among our women? Do you know that the strength of the United States lies in technical and technological education? Do you know that this is the reason it is bullying the world and calling it quit with every treaty that wants to impede the trajectory of its development? Have you heard the news?
Alas! The United States has pulled out of the INF Treaty with Russia, raising fears of a new arms race. Do you the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987? Are you aware that it banned missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km? Do you know that the Americans said they had evidence that Russia had deployed a number of 9M729 missiles – known to NATO as SSC-8? The statement of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, 2ndAugust, 2019 cuts in:
“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise. With the full support of our Nato allies, the United States has determined Russia to be in material breach of the treaty, and has subsequently suspended our obligations under the treaty”.
Do you know that the two countries in contention in the demise of the treaty are very prominent in the global competitiveness in technical and technological innovations as a result of high calibre Technical and Vocational Institutions in their jurisdictions? Do you know that our country is not in that race because we are yet to climb that ladder of development? Do you know that our lot still remains at looking to eke a living in basic necessities of life? Do you know that the demise of the treaty puts their respective war machines into motion, opening more jobs for the manufacturing sectors and boosting their respective initiatives in research, innovations and economies? Do you know that those at risk are the developing nations that are now compelled to re-tool their arsenals with the dictates of the contending forces?
Are you aware that as most developed countries are preparing for arms race, introducing new innovations in robotics, driver-less cars and inter-planetary tourism, Nigeria is still caught napping in stopping open defecation in 2019 years after the death of Jesus, the Christ? Nigeria is not ready. And we must be ready. Technical, Vocational and Technological Education is the answer. Do you know that we have to reverse all adverse statistics that puts us at tragedy station in global perspectives and ranking? How do we feel comfortable with the recent 2018 report of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping Survey that shows that 24 per cent of Nigerian population translating to 47 million people are still practicing open defecation, a ranking second among countries practicing it in the world? Why do we feel complacent being the capital of poverty in the world? Why are we not declaring a state of emergency in vocational and technical education now to reverse the trudge into a tipping edge to copy the initiative of Osun Government? The statement of Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military analyst on the demise of the INF Treaty cuts in:
“Now that the treaty is over, we will see the development and deployment of new weapons. Russia is already ready.”
“ Nothing is impossible but there are ways that lead to everything. If we have sufficient will, we shall always have sufficient means. It is an excuse that we say things are impossible”