The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has called for a reform of the nation’s education curriculum to emphasise skill acquisition and improve the quality of graduates.
Ngige made the call in Umuahia on Thursday, during the graduation of the first set of the Abia State Education-for-Employment programme.
He regretted that the present curriculum only prepared students for white-collar jobs, saying that the situation had compounded the nation’s unemployment problem.
He said that current economic realities required a curriculum that would promote practical education and skill acquisition by students.
The minister charged the graduands, who trained in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to put into practice the skill they acquired in order to become job creators rather than job-seekers.
He commended the Abia government for the initiative which, he said, could take the teeming graduates out of the labour market.
“Nigerian students must learn skills in order to employ themselves and others; it is the only way to check the current situation where they idle away their time, many years after graduation,” he said.
The minister also spoke on the agitation for restructuring and devolution of power to the states.
“The Federal Government is interested in restructuring; restructuring is not resource control.
“Restructuring will enable states to develop themselves. Devolution of power to states will promote healthy competition,” he said.
Ngige said that the Federal Government would equip students that acquired skills to start their own businesses.
In his speech, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, said that the programme was part of the intitiative adopted by his administration to provide jobs for the youths.
Ikpeazu said that government would employ 10 of the graduands, from each of the 17 local government areas, to man the ICT units of the state government job centres.
The former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, who delivered the key-note address, encouraged the graduands to utilise their skills and strive to reach the peak of their careers.
Obi charged governments at all levels to invest more in human resource development than physical infrastructure, in order to secure the nation’s future.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and the Registrar and Chief Executive of National Board for Technical Education, Prof. Ifeoma Isiugo-Abanihe, were among those that presented goodwill messages at the occasion.
NAN reports that 472 persons graduated from the programme.