Compulsory Vocational Studies Bill passes second reading in House of Reps

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A bill mandating the teaching of vocational studies in Nigeria’s secondary schools passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill which was sponsored by Hon. Joseph Asuku Bello representing Adavi/Okehi Federal Constituency of Kogi State was first read on the floor of the lower chamber on 2nd July, 2020.

In his lead debate on Wednesday, Hon. Asuku explained that the compulsory teaching of vocational studies was to make the younger Nigerians skillful at the secondary school level and make them productive to themselves and the society in their adult years.

The lawmaker reasoned in the motion that the staggering rate of unemployment in Nigeria was due to an educational system that was designed to produce graduates for white collar jobs, rather than being entrepreneurs or employers of labour.

He said, the compulsory teaching of vocational studies would shift the young people’s focus from looking for job to being their own boss in the business world, particularly at such a time that the number of unemployed youths in Nigeria was overshooting the entire population of some African countries.

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He said: “Mr. Speaker and dear Honourable colleagues, over the years, the growing rate of unemployment, especially of our teeming young population, is alarming and worrisome.

“For example, data for the second quarter of 2020 from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that about 21.7 million Nigerians are unemployed, out of which a staggering 13.9million of them (which is more than the population of Rwanda and several other African countries), are youths within ages of 18 to 30 years.

“Unfortunately, these statistics are predicted to grow even worse, as the frightening state of insecurity, dwindling oil prices and dire consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, continue to take toll on our economy.

According to him, the design of educational system in the Secondary schools’ curriculum cannot trigger creativity in the younger generation, a situation he said, leads to unabated poverty, which in turns has spiked widespread insecurity in the country.

Hon. Asuku in the motion insisted that the nation’s secondary schools are in dire need of parliamentary intervention now, while calling for lawmakers’ commitment to fine-tune the system of education in Nigeria.

“This Bill in essence, seeks to mainstream the study of vocational subjects such as Wood works, Tailoring, Catering, Photography, Videography, Business Studies, Printing and Stenography, Farming and Agriculture, Automobile, ICT, Electrical/Electronic works.

“This is to transform all our secondary schools into skill acquisition centres and by so doing, we will be catching them young.”

Lawmakers who contributed to the motion were unanimous on the importance of skill acquisition through vocational training in secondary schools.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila in his remark noted that the bill will strengthen the educational system in Nigeria and referred it to the House Committee on education after it was passed.

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