Fashola Advocates Greater Attention To Technical Education
• Says it's the best way to grow the economy at all levels
Jul 31, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday called for greater attention to technical and vocational education in the country saying it is the only way to grow the economy both at the state and national levels.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the official commissioning of the Samsung Engineering Academy at the Government Technical College, Agidingbi, argued that without an information technology background and backbone, it would be difficult for the economy to grow.
"We are moving into cashless banking. A lot of electronic data would be needed and where are the support technicians? I see them in the students of this academy and our upcoming children. We need homes, we need power and we need to produce more water. So, we are going to need the engineers and technicians in very large numbers", the Governor said.
According to the Governor, "We cannot produce too much of these technicians and engineers because we have a deficit of them. We need to rebuild the country. This nation is being run on an infrastructure that is about 40 years old. So, anybody who is investing in technology, in technical engineering is investing in the right place".
"That is where our Power will come from; that is where our factories will come from; that is where so many things will be developed and maintained", Governor Fashola said adding, "I am convinced that we are on the right track.
Noting that the Academy would be the model for electronic engineering, Governor Fashola called on other entrepreneurs to partner with his Government in the other four technical colleges in Epe, Ikotun, Amuwo Odofin and Ikorodu in order to make each of them a model of one specialty or the other.
"We have four other schools like this in Epe, Ikorodu, Amuwo-Odofin and Ikotun; so we are seeking for other partners to make any of these ones a model of one specialty , either carpentry, block-making or masonry and we look to them for such strategic partnerships with us", the Governor said.
He, however, explained that the schools would continue to run their basic programmes while, like the Government Technical College, Agidingbi which has become a model for electronic engineering, each of the others would become definitive as a model for one particular enterprise.
Debunking the notion that Technical and Vocational Education is an inferior education, Governor Fashola, who blamed the notion for the inadequate attention to this form of education, explained, "It is a parallel education to senior secondary education from SS1 to SS3 in the orthodox school. What we have here is also a three-year programme; but instead of writing the West African School Certificate Examination, they sit for the National Board for Technical Education Examination which will be equivalent to WASC and with which they can proceed to the university".
"Here, children who have gone through the primary and secondary school programmes in the orthodox manner are now going through the final lap of their education years in secondary school learning how to do things with their hands. It gives them more than fair advantage in life. And in the real world, they will be the ones who are more adaptive, who can do things", the Governor said.
On what the State Government is doing to promote technical and vocational education, Governor Fashola, who said his administration has been opening up roads across the State in the last three months, added, "Particularly, in the last few weeks, we have been busy negotiating partnerships".
"We opened up an automobile workshop to impact skill. It is in partnership with the Coscharis Group. We opened an e-learning Centre in Odunlami to our children and young people; we built a library of modern age; a library that they will deal with as our society and our world continues to be daily changed by advances in Information and Communication Technology", the Governor said.
He paid glowing tribute to the immediate past Deputy Governor of the State, Mrs. Sarah Adebisi Sosan for her pioneering role in reestablishing technical education in the State and Mr. Femi Olukoya who, according to him, came from the United Kingdom to revamp old and dilapidated technical equipment in the schools which had been abandoned for over 17 years.
Citing the resilience and eagerness of young people to conquer new grounds and obtain laurels at the on-going London Olympics, Governor Fashola declared, "I have seen what is possible as a result of human resilience and undying spirit for excellence in the Olympics. As I saw a 16-year-old win an Olympic Medal, I got convinced that the investment we are making on our children is worth doing".
Governor Fashola said the Academy was one of the projects which the new team of Commissioners, chosen after the last election, initiated and has completed in record time adding that his administration has been working very tirelessly to deliver the best service to the electorates.
The Governor recalled that the half year budget performance of the 2012 Budget was a cumulative 75 percent performance which, according to him, could be seen in such projects as the Samsung Academy adding that these achievements were made in spite of the adverse global economic situation which has seen the value of the dollar as against the Naira spiraling by more than 50 percent since 2007.
He also paid tribute to the State's Ministry of Environment for its role in managing the floods during the Rainy Season to ensure that there were no human casualties in terms of fatalities adding, "It is not luck. It is hard work; it is as a result of our advocacy that our people have lent their ears to the realities of changing weather patterns and paid heed to the call from their Government".
"The Rainy Season means different things to different people. To the fisherman, it is probably time for harvest. For some, it is time to have an extra sleep, especially if it falls by 5 a.m. But for me, it is time to wake up. When I hear the rains continuing for 30 minutes, it is time to wake up and begin to wake everybody to ensure that people don't die. So, for us we don't sleep to ensure that people stay alive", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola said it was important to recall these sacrifices "in order to conceptualize how selfless and how relentless this Government you have elected is committed to the delivery of service", adding, "Our results are being delivered clearly in an environment where the price of petrol has gone up. But we must still have to run the vehicles".
Reiterating his call for other entrepreneurs to take up partnerships with his administration, Governor thanked Samsung "for finding us worthy partners as we have also found them worthy partners", adding that though the Lagos Samsung Academy is the third in Africa, its uniqueness lay in the fact that it is a partnership unlike the others which were born as part of corporate social responsibility of the company.
In his remarks earlier, the Managing Director of Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Nicholas Shin, said the academy was aimed at training electronic engineers who, according to him, will be relevant to the company, adding that the trainees would be absorbed 100 percent by the company after graduation.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Lagos Eko Project, Ms. Ronke Azeez, said the Academy was a collaboration between the Lagos State Government and Samsung Electronics West Africa with the objective to improve the standard of electronic engineering in the State, adding that the State Government donated the building while the company brought the technical expertise.
Also present at the occasion were the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo, among other members of the State Executive Council, Consul General of the Korean Embassy, Mr. Pilchean Park as well as other top officials of Samsung Electronics West Africa and other top government functionaries.