By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has called on the Federal Government to establish more technical colleges across the country, as a solution to Nigeria’s skilled labour force deficit, adding that the country has deficit of 664 technical colleges that need address problems.
Executive Secretary of the board, Dr. Mas’udu Kazaure, told newsmen in Kaduna on Wednesday, that the country was supposed to have at least one technical college in each of the 774 Local Government Areas.
“Based on the nation’s policy on education, we are supposed to have 774 technical colleges across the country, but we only have 110: 17 federal colleges, 90 state colleges and three owned by private.
“This means that we still have a deficit of 664 technical colleges that need to be address.
“We need to establish more technical and technological institutions for improved access to technical education and boost our technical, innovative and inventive skills that would meet our industrial needs.
According to him, there is also the need to focus on building skills for key economic sectors that will support the country’s socio-economic transformation for sustainable development.
Kazaure said that the board has 523 technical institutions under its purview comprising 112 polytechnics, 35 colleges of agriculture, 29 colleges of health sciences, and 26 specialised institutions.
Others are 138 innovation enterprises institutions, 110 technical colleges, and 73 vocational enterprise institutions.
He identified some challenges affecting the technical education system to include delay in the review of Federal Polytechnic Act, delay in release of funds and nonpayment of salaries in many state’s polytechnics.
“There is also security challenges resulting from non release of enough funds to settle the out-source services, shortfall of personnel allocation to polytechnics and responsibility allowances.
Meanwhile, chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Aminu Suleiman, during a recent oversight visit to the NBTE has promised to support the board in any way it can to meet its mandate.
Suleiman said the committee will draw the attention of the executive arm of government to focus on educational system that would make students self-reliant upon graduation from tertiary institutions.
“As a country, we have all agreed that technical education is the answer, and the chief regulator of the sector is the NBTE, who is shouldered with the responsibility to ensure that we succeed in that sector.”
He explained that objective of the oversight visit was to share ideas, particularly with the challenges affecting the technical education system, and advice where necessary on ways to strengthen the system.
“But the main goal is to have a family discussion on the way to strengthen the technical education to succeed in our quest to develop the needed technical skill manpower for national development,” Suleiman said.