Technical, Vocational Education Is The Future Of Our State – Fashola
May 11, 2010 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday flagged off a one-day Advocacy Programme on Technical and Vocational Education with a declaration that the future of the State lies in the wholesale embrace of Technical and Vocational Education.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the Adeyemo Bero Auditorium venue of the occasion, also urged parents and guardians to get involved in the education of their children describing them as critical stakeholders in the upbringing of their wards.
Stressing the need for skilled technicians in the country, the Governor said the nation is fast transiting from a trading economy to a producing and manufacturing economy, adding, "Technical and Vocational Education is the future of our State, it is the future of our country, it is the future of our planet".
"Today, we all agree that we need more trains to connect Lagos with Kaduna, to connect Lagos with Abuja so that we stop spending long hours on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway. Who is going to build the trains and the rails?", the Governor asked, pointing out that technicians will also be required to maintain and repair the vehicles being used for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
He disclosed that the Government will soon need technicians who have the capacity to work at the repair workshops currently being fixed for the repair of the BRT buses adding that without producing such technicians locally, the BRT scheme would be hampered.
He said the Chinese company handling the planned Lagos light rail project have requested that, preparatory to moving to site, it needs 800 workers to be employed in Lagos out of which 510 are technical and skilled manpower adding that when the project proper starts there would be need for much more technicians to maintain the various aspects of the system.
"If we don't prepare our children to take the jobs, we will be like Dubai that imported all the labour that built Dubai from Malaysia, from Singapore and from the Philippines and all the money from that endeavour went out to those economies", the Governor said, adding, "The choice is for us to make; to train our children, for this is our future".
"Our country", the Governor said, "needs housing, electricity, and water supply, among others. We complain that we don't have these things; when we find the money, who will build the houses and the dams. Our country is struggling to feed ourselves; we need to invest in Agriculture. It will involve processing, canning and export. If we don't have the technical skills to maintain the tractors, it will not work. If we want electricity; if we want regular fuel supply, we must build our water dams; we must build our refineries".
On the importance of the input of parents and guardians to education of their children, Governor Fashola said the children are left with teachers for just six hours after which the parents takeover for the rest of the day adding that it is the parents and guardians that should make the children realize how important education is to their lives.
He told the parents, "We are asking you to get involved. Our job is never to compel people to do things. It is to show you the benefits and reason why you should do it. If you show your children that education is important they will take it serious".
Debunking the notion that technical and vocational education is for people with less intelligence quotient and dropouts, Governor Fashola argued, "Who is more intelligent, the man who drives a car or the man who built the car?, adding that in addition to funding support from the World Bank, the Government has established partnership with an institution in England for exchange programmes in technical and vocational education.
The Governor said as a Government, his administration has done a lot of work to revitalize technical education in the State adding that the five technical schools have received a lot of attention while some of their equipment which has been lying dormant for decades have been revamped and brought back to use.
"When we set out in 2007, we realized that if we were going to make progress in addressing the problems of Education and who the beneficiaries in our economy are, we must understand who the stakeholders are. We identified the stakeholders in our education as the children, the teachers and the parents and guardians", the Governor said.
He said his administration tackled the critical areas of refurbishing the schools, providing desks, chairs, fans, toilets and other necessary materials in the schools in order to encourage and make it attractive for the children to go to school while also training and retraining teachers as well as improving their welfare package in order to encourage them.
"In every local government area today, you will see our handiwork; fixing laboratory equipment, installing fans, providing water supply and refuse management, providing new toilets so that children can be encouraged to go to school", Governor Fashola said.
In a paper he delivered at the occasion, the head of Department of Technology Education, University of Lagos, Dr. Stephen Adenle, said Vocational Education was devised as a democratic choice to allow students to attain their potentials.
Dr. Adenle, who was the Guest Speaker at the occasion, urged parents and guardians to encourage their children and wards to take on vocational education, pointing out that the problem was apathy among young people towards the vocation.
Also debunking the nation that technical and vocational education was for dropouts and unintelligent people, the University don declared, "Gone are the days when technical education is a dead end. Before Independence, we imported technicians from all over the world, but no country can export their technicians to you. You have to develop your own technology".
In his goodwill message, Elder Dominic Obadairo, a product of technical and vocational education, commended the Lagos State Government for its efforts in revamping Technical and Vocational Education in the State saying it is not only important but also paramount for the children.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairman of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board, Mrs. Adeyinka Taiwo Oyemade, said the Government has made much progress in its efforts to revamp Technical and Vocational Education in the State adding, "We are in a strategic position where we have aligned with foreign partners for installation of equipment and capacity building.
Commending Governor Fashola for his commitment to revitalizing the Technical and Vocational Education in the State, the Chairman declared that the recent approval for the recruitment of more than 200 technical teachers "attests to the commitment of this administration to rebrand technical colleges in the State".
Also present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, Special Adviser in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Ms. Ronke Azeez, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board, Engnr. Olawunmi Anthony Gasper, the six Permanent Secretaries and Tutors General of the six Education Districts in the State, traditional rulers as well as other top Government functionaries.
Highlight of the occasion was the inspection, by Governor Fashola, of the technical exhibitions mounted by four technical colleges in the State – Government Technical Colleges, Agidingbi, Ikorodu, Odomola and Adosoba.