By Faith Igbudu
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has promised to provide an enabling environment for the Innovation, Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS) project to thrive in the state.
He gave the commitment on Tuesday during the IDEAS/Innovative Grant Facility (IGF) launch in Makurdi the state capital.
Represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dr Sarwuan Tarnongu, he said one of the challenges confronting the nation is the high rate of unemployment which has caused so much unrest and destruction of the nation’s economy. He noted that all hands must be on deck to ensure gainful employment in the country.
“It is an undisputable fact that there exist a significant relationship between the economic well-being of a nation and her technical and vocational education development and skills acquisition. Therefore the need to transform skills development and training that will strengthen the labour market becomes sacrosanct and cannot be over-emphasized.
“We are therefore, committed in providing and sustaining conducive working space for the project to thrive and also partner with qualified and recommended organizations to development of TVET as a panacea to bridging the gap between our educational institutions products and industries’ demand for labour force thereby achieving the developmental objectives of the project,” he promised.
Governor Ortom also expressed profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister for Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew Adejo, for the choice of Benue state in the North Central region to benefit from the project. He thanked World Bank for providing a window for Nigerian youths to acquire hands-on-skill that will make them employable.
Speaking at the event, National Coordinator of the project, Mrs Blessing Ogwu said the challenge of unemployment in the nation can not be dealt with in one day, saying IDEAS is however, an entry point to tackling the issue.
Represented by Prof. Ndem Ndiyo, she said IDEAS is an initiation of the federal government to help develop skills and with such skills enhance students access in the labour force.
She commended Benue State government for showing commitment towards the project by the recruitment of science and technical teachers and also making the selected schools conducive for learning.
Throwing more light on IGF, she said over 100,000 dollars is up for grabs as grants to the private sector, who will key into the programme.
In a welcome address by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Agbo Ochekpa, he said Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) development will help in achieving the policy of this administration aimed at making “tertiary education strong, secondary education stronger and primary education strongest.”
To this end, he said the IDEAS project is one of such strategic platform to leverage upon in achieving this policy.
Earlier, in his opening remark, State Coordinator of the project cum Executive Secretary, Science and Technical Education Board, Engr Samuel Kwende, said the IDEAS project is a welcomed one as it is structured to address skills gaps, in order to build a robust technical driven economy.
Benefiting schools; Government Science School, Zaki- Biam, Government Science School, Gbajimba, Government Science and Technical College, Otukpo got the first disbursement of 250,000 dollars (over 100 hundred million naira) each.