VOCATIONAL AND technical EDUCATION AS A VERITABLE TOOL FOR developing THE youths FOR GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AND SELF-RELIANCE
Vocational and technical education (VTE) as a genuine instrument for preparing young people for meaningful work and independence. This study views VTE as a practically focused education that affords adolescents a variety of options to realize their potential. This advancement will ultimately result in the much-needed technological growth in all sectors of the nation's economy. However, it is the contention of this study that VTE has not been exploited sufficiently for this purpose to date. According to this paper, the reason for this is that the government has not done enough to popularize VTE among youths through guidance and counseling in the area of gainful employment and self-reliance in VTE. In addition, strategies for promoting sustainable vocational and technical education for gainful employment were highlighted and recommendations were made.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Prior to the arrival of Western Education, vocational and technical education existed in Nigeria, primarily in the form of apprenticeship programs. On the arrival and co-existence of western education with the pre-colonial form of vocational and technical education took off in government organizations such as the Nigeria Railway co-operation, public works department, the marine, post and telegraph, etc. subsequently, a few vocational schools were established by both government and voluntary agencies (Fafunwa 1991).
The Nigerian educational system's design is defective, the lack of technical education is a hindrance to national growth, and not everyone requires a university education. In Nigeria, technical degrees are seen as inferior than traditional academic degrees, but this is not the case in other nations. In reality, a person's value is determined by his or her talents and expertise, not by the number of academic degrees he or she possesses. Nigeria must incorporate both theory and practice into its educational system, as theory alone is ineffective (National Policy on Education 1998).
Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and the eighth most populous nation in the world, with a population of over 140 million (National population commission 2006). Nigeria is the eighth largest oil producer in the world, but it has the largest population of poor and unemployed people in Sub-Saharan Africa and is ranked 158th on the human development index. There is a general high income, which has perpetuated the concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands of a small number of individuals (Action Aid Nigeria 2009).
A high rate of unemployment and underemployment is one of Nigeria's most pressing socioeconomic issues (Salani 2011). Despite the growing number of youngsters in the labor force, employment growth is insufficient to absorb new labor market entrants. Consequently, youth are disproportionately affected by unemployment. In 2011, the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdulahi, reported that 42.2% of Nigeria's youth population is unemployed, but the chairman of the house Committee on Youth and Social Development, Depo Oyedokun, estimated that the figure is closer to 50%. 23 million of the country's over 40 million unemployed adolescents are deemed unemployable and hence vulnerable to crone, necessitating an explanation of how the problem will be rectified (Emeh, Nusangura and Abaroh, 2012). In Nigeria, there is a high percentage of unemployment due to the fact that the majority of graduates lack the required marketable skills that would make them employed in companies or related organizations.
According to Agi and Yellowe (2013), education is essential for the growth of human resources and the importation of the proper skills, knowledge, and attitude. In terms of security, it is the foundation for transformation industrialization and a key to the global knowledge economy. Education is viewed as a method to achieve a culture of peace, gender equality, and positive African values, according to Agi and Yellowe (2013). Many believe that education leads to national transformation and progress through the eradication of poverty, hence ensuring peace and security.
The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (2004) gives weight to the importance of education by elucidating its role in self-sufficiency and development. Agi and Yellowe (2013) concur, arguing that the aims of wealth creation or generation, poverty reduction, and value reorientation can only be reached and maintained through an effective educational system that imparts the appropriate skills, information, capacities, attitude, and values. In light of the aforementioned benefits of education, Nigeria has offered education for decades with an abundance of accessible manpower. However, what perpetually agitates the nation is its slow and inefficient economy, its near-primitive democracy, and its violent social coexistence (NEED, 2004).
Agi and Yellowe (2013), in analyzing the problem of education in Nigeria, argued that the problem is not curriculum or investment in education, nor is it lack of manpower for the sector, but that many have tended to look in the direction of management of education, which includes lack of policy analysis to make students fit into society, while not relying on the government of the day but the management ingenuity of education managers and administrators.
However, due to recent occurrences such as underemployment, poverty, and unemployment, as well as their reoccurring effects, many individuals have previously criticized formal education for its lack of relevance, while others have strongly criticized informal education for its inability to promote the much-needed development, scientific and technological breakthrough. The absence of technical and vocational education may have contributed to the youth's high unemployment rate and escalating poverty, as many of them lack fundamental job skills.
Through vocational and technical education, it is intended to examine the different means by which youngsters can be prepared for meaningful employment and become self-sufficient, for the reasons stated above.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
There has been a decline in employment in the country and among young people in particular over time. It has been observed that teenagers have not embraced vocational and technical education, and this is due to one or more problems. It is possible to boost youth employment across the nation, but achieving this objective will be hampered by a number of variables, most notably the fact that there are a large number of graduate and undergraduate job seekers on the streets.
Nonetheless, a scant amount of study has been conducted on juvenile employment development and self-reliance, as evidenced by a few studies. Little research has been conducted on the potential benefits of vocational and technical education (VTE), and this has not been sufficient to increase the young employment rate.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This research examines the possible impact of vocational and technical education on the development of an entrepreneurial culture among Nigerian adolescents in an effort to reduce youth unemployment. It tries to evaluate how the training and skills acquired via vocational and technical education might serve as a foundation for fostering entrepreneurship and reducing unemployment.
1.4 Importance of the Research
As the phrase implies, unemployment has been a huge concern throughout the nation. Some young people are unaware that vocational and technical education can increase the nation's employment rate as well as their own and society's well-being.
The purpose of this study is to determine the significance of vocational and technical education and how it functions as a source of employment and self-sufficiency for the citizens of the society, with a special focus on the youth.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions have been formulated by the researcher to lead the study:
What are the benefits of technical and vocational education in Nigeria?
What aspects of self-employment are relevant to vocational and technical education?
What challenges and opportunities face vocational and technical education?
What are the government's approaches to youth unemployment?
What causes youth unemployment and what are its consequences?
1.6 RADIUS OF STUDY
The study will explore pertinent topics on the impact of vocational and technical education to the reduction of unemployment in society as a whole. Several Edo state communities from the Esan South East Local Government Area will be addressed in this study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following terminology are explained as they will be used throughout this study:-
Vocation is a Latin word that refers to a calling and an invitation to comprehend significant responsibilities.
Unemployment: Unemployment denotes a lack of employment or a condition in which individuals are unable to obtain paid work.
A young individual who has not yet achieved maturity; the time span between childhood and adulthood.
Abilities and capacities acquired via purposeful, methodical, and prolonged effort to do complex activities or job functions involving ideas, things, and people in a fluid and adaptable manner.
VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION AS A VERITABLE TOOL FOR DEVELOPING THE YOUTHS FOR GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT AND SELF-RELIANCE