Technical Education catalyst for Nation’s Devt. Prof. Ocheni.
Technological and vocational education has been described as the engine room for the growth and a restoration of infrastructures deficit pervading the length and breadth of the country.
Professor Stephen Ikani Ocheni, gave the assertion on Friday at Idah , Headquarters of Idah LGA of kogi state during the maiden National Convention of the Alumni Association of Federal Polytechnic Idah.
Delivering a paper ” Nigerian Economic Transformation, the Role of Technical Education, professor Ocheni, averred that the discovery of crude oil has created a worrisome shift from Agriculture which it had great potential for growth and brought economic woes for the Country
Professor Ocheni, a former Minister of state for labour and productivity and Chairman , Governing Council, Auchi Polytechnic noted that , the country which was hitherto being sustained through Agriculture, and allied industries had abandoned it for the petrol dollars which negatively transformed the people from production to consumption.
The erudite scholar who is also an alumnus of the Institution explained that despite the growth of the country in the late 1960’s and 70s through the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities which the nation couldn’t leverage on it by investing in human capital development , the economic growth has continued to be determined by consumption.
He decried the then economic policies which left the nation ill prepared with the collapse of the crude oil prices and production, saying the structure of the economy remained import dependent, undervisified and consumption driven.
He explained that with the decline of foreign exchange earnings which account for over 95% of export receivable, with little earnings from manufacturing sector , the country began a steady experiencing of poverty, inequality and unemployment, youth restiveness and high rate of crimes.
He added that woes of the nation continued unabated by the deteriorating infrastructures, corruption and fraudulent manipulation of public funds.
According to him” in realisation that the economy has fallen into serious fiscal crisis, the present Government of president Muhammadu Buhari have made novel effort to change national economic trajectory in a fundamental way.
“Given the imperfections and market failure in Nigeria, the government has to embark on selective intervention to stimulate industrial growth and achieve international competitiveness as he launched an economic reforms in 2017 known as Economic Recovery and Growth plan ERGP that will encourage direct foreign investment and technological capacity building, through proper funding of polytechnics and colleges of Technology to produce needed manpower for the technological advancements of the country.”
He however called on the government to invigorate efforts towards youth empowerment programmes of skill based vocational training, while seeking for optimisation of the size of civil service, commercialisation of research results and the establishment of research linkages with private sector.
He called for a special grant for Polytechnics to equip laboratories and workshops, allow Polytechnics to offer post graduate programs to shore up their internally generated revenue and the removal of the dichotomy between HND / BSC in the public and private sectors to encourage and motivate polytechnic graduates.
This is just as he challenged NBTE to ensure regular accreditation and resources inspection into both public and private polytechnics with aim to weed out mushroom and unregistered schools masquerading as polytechnics.