The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has called for a complementary approach to education in such a manner that literacy and skills are developed simultaneously to avert a situation where the country will have a deficit of skilled hands amidst a largely literate population.
The governor said this in commemoration of the International Literacy Day marked every September 8, by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and other organs of the United Nations.
The governor said it has become imperative to place emphasis on skills development due to the low yearly turnout of skilled workforce from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in the country, which leads to Nigeria’s worrying indices on unemployment.
According to him, “In the wake of Nigeria’s troubling unemployment figures, we have to be bold to state quiet clearly and frankly that the way forward is to groom technical hands, especially as we are a developing country, which needs all the technical expertise to grow the economy and drive industrialisation.
“We have long realised this in Edo State, which is why we are revamping the Benin Technical College now Government Science and Technical College, to become a world-class institute to groom the best of hands for technical work within and outside the state.”
He said that this year’s theme for the International Literacy Day celebration, Literacy and Skills Development, is in line with the government’s plans to ensure that the youths in the state are provided platforms to develop their skills in different technical fields to contribute to the state’s development.
“The Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) in 2013 showed that 84.1 percent women and 92. 5 per cent of men in Edo are literate, which are above the national average. Much as this is encouraging, we are also not relenting in grooming young ones on the best of technical education in traditional vocations as well as in digital literacy for jobs in the emerging technology ecosystem in the state.
On this year’s theme, the UN said, “Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, and at the same time the demands for skills required for work, evolve rapidly.
“This year’s theme explores integrated approaches that simultaneously support the development of literacy and skills, to ultimately improve people’s lives and work and contribute to equitable and sustainable societies. The day focuses on skills and competencies required for employment, careers, and livelihoods, particular technical and vocational skills, along with transferable skills and digital skills.”