The role of postsecondary education (technical and vocational training) in human resource development and economic growth in Nigeria
Nwamadi, Ferdie Ekpemarachi
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The primary purpose of this study was to collect and analyze data on how Nigeria might develop an appropriately configured educational system(s) by utilizing strategies that have been successful in several selected countries for developing their human resources and improving their economic posture. Nigeria has relied heavily on traditional and academic education for over 120 years. Given the unproductive nature of some sectors of the Nigerian labor force and a collapsing economy, it seems appropriate at this time to consider an alternative approach with an educational system that has been used with some success. The study used a historical descriptive and prescriptive base for the determination of several key issues because of the lack of current data from Nigeria. One such key issue dealt with whether or not it could be demonstrated that there was, in selected countries, a demonstrable linkage between technical and vocational education/training and human resource development and economic growth. The nations used as basis for comparison are Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela because they exhibit certain traits in common with Nigeria. The importance of technology to economic growth was discussed and the reasons why technical/vocational programs should be stressed in Nigeria were given attention. The failure of large expenditures in education to produce much increase in gross domestic and national product is attributed to the fact that such skills training has been quite neglected in Nigeria, in contrast to more formal, degree-focused curricula. Education has been targeted to areas where employment for these skills does not exist; in other words, a glut of some professionals exists, while industry and agriculture are in critical need of workers proficient in those aptitudes formulated in technical/vocation courses. A comparison was made between Nigeria and three Latin American countries. The technical/vocational programs of these three countries were studied, including why some of these have been so successful in providing both the population needing jobs and the industry needing trained personnel. Their rising GDP and GNP was cited as proof of effectiveness. Certain specific recommendations were made for Nigeria in its task of improving planning and implementation of technical/vocational education. It was stressed that Nigeria has the potential, both in resources and in will, to develop more fully this sector of its education framework.
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