Scholarly article on topic 'Entrepreneurial Skills Development Strategies through the Mandatory Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme in Nigeria'

Entrepreneurial Skills Development Strategies through the Mandatory Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme in Nigeria Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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{"Human capital" / "poverty reduction" / entrepreneurship / "technical and vocational education" / self-employment.}

Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — A.S. Usman, R. Tasmin

Abstract Technical vocational education and training (TVET) plays an important role in shaping a nation's intellectual human capital. In today's world, TVET has undergone several transformations in fulfilling its tasks to produce excellent, competitive and skilful human capital. The paper identifies strategies to be used in enhancing skills-acquisition of undergraduate TVET students through improved collaboration with industries in Nigeria. It reviewed two prominent forms of technical cooperation that exist between HEIs and industries in Nigeria, vis-a-vis endowment of chairs and other research positions to promote excellence and provision of Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) positions to undergraduate students. This practice is continuously yielding positive results within the mandate of Industrial Training Fund (ITF). The current trend in TVET places much emphasis on entrepreneurship education to promote creativity and poverty alleviation strategies that will generate job-creation avenues to Nigeria's teeming graduates. The paper discussed entrepreneurial education as an instrument per excellent to unlock economic potentials of Nigerian citizens through innovative collaboration with the industry. It advocated for a review of SIWES program to develop entrepreneurial skills that contributes to an individual's personal development, increase his productivity and income and facilitate participation in economic and social life. It was recommended that all hands should be on deck to help our youths mitigate poverty by providing them with skills; entrepreneurial attitude and knowledge to raise their output and generate income. This calls for continued lifelong learning and training to enable continuous relevance to the world of work. In conclusion, the authors stressed that the idea was to support practical acquisition of life skills, to make employees more aware of the context of their work and better able to seize opportunities, and to provide a foundation for entrepreneurs in setting up social or commercial activities.

Academic research paper on topic "Entrepreneurial Skills Development Strategies through the Mandatory Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme in Nigeria"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 204 (2015) 254 - 258

4th World Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (WoCTVET), 5th-6th

November 2014, Malaysia

Entrepreneurial Skills Development Strategies through the Mandatory Students' Industrial Work Experience Scheme in Nigeria

Usman, A. S.1*, Tasmin, R.2

12 Faculty of Technology Management and Business, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia 86400 Parit Raja, Batu Pahad, Johor, Malaysia

Abstract

Technical vocational education and training (TVET) plays an important role in shaping a nation's intellectual human capital. In today's world, TVET has undergone several transformations in fulfilling its tasks to produce excellent, competitive and skilful human capital. The paper identifies strategies to be used in enhancing skills-acquisition of undergraduate TVET students through improved collaboration with industries in Nigeria. It reviewed two prominent forms of technical cooperation that exist between HEIs and industries in Nigeria, vis-a-vis endowment of chairs and other research positions to promote excellence and provision of Students' Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) positions to undergraduate students. This practice is continuously yielding positive results within the mandate of Industrial Training Fund (ITF). The current trend in TVET places much emphasis on entrepreneurship education to promote creativity and poverty alleviation strategies that will generate job-creation avenues to Nigeria's teeming graduates. The paper discussed entrepreneurial education as an instrument per excellent to unlock economic potentials of Nigerian citizens through innovative collaboration with the industry. It advocated for a review of SIWES program to develop entrepreneurial skills that contributes to an individual's personal development, increase his productivity and income and facilitate participation in economic and social life. It was recommended that all hands should be on deck to help our youths mitigate poverty by providing them with skills; entrepreneurial attitude and knowledge to raise their output and generate income. This calls for continued lifelong learning and training to enable continuous relevance to the world of work. In conclusion, the authors stressed that the idea was to support practical acquisition of life skills, to make employees more aware of the context of their work and better able to seize opportunities, and to provide a foundation for entrepreneurs in setting up social or commercial activities.

© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Faculty of Technical and Vocational Education, University of Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.

1877-0428 © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Faculty of Technical and Vocational Education, University of Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.08.148

Keywords: Human capital; poverty reduction; entrepreneurship; technical and vocational education; self-employment.

1. Introduction

One of the most difficult challenges facing the developing countries of the world is how to tackle the challenge of poverty. Nigeria as nation, with a population of more than 160 million, is the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa that account for 52 per cent of West African population. Poverty in Nigeria is a pervasive phenomenon especially in the rural areas which are characterized by low level of income and acute deprivation [1]. Social and economic indicators at the national level are poorer than standards recommended by global institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank. No doubt, Technical vocational education and training (TVET) plays an important role in shaping a nation's intellectual human capital. In today's world, TVET has undergone several transformations in fulfilling its tasks to produce excellent, competitive and skilful human capital. Therefore, the need for well trained and skilled workers to meet the technological demands of the developing economy is more apparent now than before. In an effort to enhance the acquisition of practical and applied skills, the Industrial Training Fund (I.T.F) initiated the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) in 1973. The industrial scheme is aimed at helping students undergoing courses in engineering and technology and other professional courses to acquire the necessary practical knowledge in industry in addition to the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom. However, that school-industry partnership which ought to be the bedrock of technical development and innovations for the country has not been developed or established. Hungerford [2] observes that academic institutions lay much emphasis on the theoretical training rather than practical applications of the training. Secondly, industries do not care to participate in the educational programs due to the fact that some industries do not realize the intimate relationship between productivity, quality and education or training. It is therefore imperative to foster sustainable cooperation with the industry for enhanced skills-acquisition.

2 TVET Program in Nigeria

2.1 From Class to the World of Work

TVET is a program that is designed to equip the industries with the technological manpower needed to foster its socio-economic, and technical functionality. Vocational/Technical schools and industries should coexist as necessary partners. Specifically, TVET and industry should work together to ensure that students are given the right guidance at the right time and that curricula scopes, content and standards are relevant to the requirements of the employers. Such joint efforts will go a long way to bridge the gap between the ideal in the school and the reality in the world of work. Technology and Vocational education is built up with a lot of practical contents to enable learners acquire specific skills in various technical and engineering fields. Clerk (1971), believes that school industry partnership will produce the right calibre of engineers, scientists and technologists that will facilitate socioeconomic development of Nigeria. This makes TVET a capital intensive investment in human national development. The economic, technological development and progress of any country are largely dependent on its level of technological expertise. The wide economic gap between developing and developed countries is traceable to their level of technological development [3]. This also signifies that, the extent to which a country is developed will depend on the extent to which technological education is encouraged and pursued. It also determines the quality of industrial work-force which is a pre-requisite for economic and technological advancement and training worldwide.

2.2 Curriculum Relevance of TVET

TVET curriculum consists of the list of courses and activities for the trainers and the general objectives of the program. Ogwo [4], refers to curriculum in technology education as the totality of those experiences, knowledge, skills and activities systematically planned to educate the students for gainful employment in any chosen occupation or cluster of occupations. This connotes that the aim of technology education curriculum is to develop manipulative

skills for employment and or producing job makers and not job seekers. Products of our education depend largely on the type of the curriculum of our institutions. Vocational education curriculum should be developed based on the need of the society of which it is to serve. Curriculum must be updated or reviewed in order to update knowledge, manipulate skills, attitudes and values as well as match development in science and technology and their application to stimulate a realistic work setting in the industry [5]. What is apparent therefore is that technology education curriculum should be geared towards development of specific skills required for attainment of youth empowerment for self-reliance. Therefore, for the students to attain expertise and self-sustenance, the curriculum of technology education needs to be reviewed to meet the present and future challenges of the youth and national development. The world of work, according to [6], has a very significant part to play and it must be the focus of the competences needed to perform effectively. While as well provide effective work experience for lecturers within educational institutions if their learning is to be relevant.

2.3 TVET Collaboration with the Industry

Before independence, education at all levels in Nigeria enjoyed an unquestionable social priorities because there was an urgent need to improve the literacy rate of the population. In recent years, however, this situation has changed immensely. Nigeria has made considerable progress in industrial development and institutions are now required to train not only the administrators, but also vocational personnel, engineers and scientists to generate and sustain the countries industrial growth. Quite recently, Science, Engineering and Technology education had begun to advocate the partnership of institution training program with the activities in the fields of industry. According to Ruth [7], school-industry collaboration represents a means to contributing to quality training programs. The challenges to industry to succeed in an increasingly competitive world market, is contingent upon skill personnel who learn, grow and adapt to challenging market and techniques. There are six patterns of partnership between industry and TVET: cross-training, co-operative work study, traditional, adult and continuing education, shared facilities and consultant pattern. [8]. Here, both institutions and industries and the funding body (ITF) should work together for sustainable skill acquisition and economic development.

3 SIWES Program

3.1 Overview of the SIWES Program

SIWES is planned supervised occupational experienced program involving practical activities conducted outside the regular classroom and in a real industrial set-up. It is a skill development program designed to expose and prepare students for real work in which they are likely to meet in their selected courses after graduation from school. The scheme was introduced in Nigeria by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in 1973, to bridge the gap between theory and practice of Engineering and Technology in Nigeria tertiary institutions of higher learning. It is the accepted skills training program which forms part of the approved minimum academic standards in the various degree programs in all the Nigerian Universities. It is an effort to bridge the gap existing between theory and practice of engineering and technology, science, agriculture, medical, management and other professional educational programs in Nigeria tertiary institutions. The aim of the SIWES is to provide avenue for students to have industrial exposure in their own disciplines during the course of their study. Such exposure will prepare them to fit more readily into industrial work after their academic career. SIWES is designed to help and consolidate school/industry collaboration of undergraduate students undergoing courses in Science, Engineering and Technology and other professional courses to acquire necessary practical skills in addition to theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom. It is a program that uses the work environment to expose students to work methods and provide needed experience in handling tools, machinery and equipment that may not be available in educational institutions.

3.2 Entrepreneurial Skills in SIWES Program

SIWES is seen as a strategic instrument for industrialization and economic development because of its potential to induce scientific and technological transformation within the economy. By and large, entrepreneurial skills development potentials of SIWES program cannot be overestimated being designed to prepare students of Polytechnics, Universities, Colleges of Technology and Colleges of Education (Tech.) for the industrial work situation they are likely to meet after graduation. A greater proportion of problems confronting technical/vocational education in Nigeria today is rooted in the failure of technical and engineering institutions to impact appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes readily for gainful or self-employment of the graduates. The role of SIWES in this regard is manifested in the context of the education policy, curriculum design and development, as well as in forging the school-industry linkage vital for labour market-driven skills development. For the scheme to achieve its full potentialities, the curriculum design has to be repositioned towards training for entrepreneurship as part of its priorities. The development of entrepreneurial attitudes should be seen as an essential ingredient for its success. This will require a reward system to support innovative business concept or idea in the course of education pursuits by the students.

3.3 Challenges Facing the SIWES Program

However, certain challenges are limiting against the development of these entrepreneurial intentions and skills in the industry. Amasa [9], observes that the SIWES program which was designed to familiarize trained personnel with the world of works is fast degenerating into a mere formality. The program has fallen short of expectations as a result of peer co-ordination between industries and the training institutions. Hence, the need for the institution-industry relation be repositioned, fused together, and be fully committed in the skill development programs. These factors include:

• inadequate training of technicians, technologists due to inadequate training facilities;

• insufficient exposure to practical work, series of strikes and closure of schools, lack of functional libraries, laboratory and workshops;

• weak, dissipated and obsolete infrastructure, equipment and facilities due to poor funding and corruption;

• Inadequate information between schools and industries. Industry based supervisors are often not involved in designing the training programs;

• lack of proper support for research and development;

• high cost of and apathy towards home-made goods;

• unnecessary policy reviews and discontinuities between successive administrations, and general bureaucratic bottlenecks;

• Insufficient personnel motivation, commitment to duty, and patriotism. Supervisors are not seriously committed and as a result student trainees are not assigned to challenging jobs.

• Lack of proper matching of individual set skills with the relevant fields needed by industry.

4 Recommendations

To enhance skill acquisition of TVET students the following recommendations should be utilized:

• TVET institutions should work out modalities for training and re-training in a way that will benefit both the Institutions and Industries in Nigeria;

• ITF and NBTE staff should pay regular visits to industries in order to supervise the trainees on SIWES to industries;

• An effective and efficient communication system should be established between the TVET institutions and industries which would facilitate meaningful coordination of the SIWES program;

• ITF should perform need assessment on the part of the industries so that students' posting in done so as to balance the school-industry needs.

• Effective involvement of the industry to achieve integrated work and learning.

• Setup a database for potential TVET students and industrial companies for linking and matching.

5 Conclusion

The current trend in TVET places much emphasis on entrepreneurship education to promote creativity, innovation, self-employment and poverty alleviation strategies that will cushion the scorching effects of unemployment by providing unlimited job-creation avenues to a multitude of Nigeria's teeming graduates. The paper discussed entrepreneurial education as an instrument per excellence to unlock economic potentials of Nigerian citizens through the innovative collaboration with the industry. The Federal Government of Nigeria initiated Industrial Training Fund (ITF) policy under the enabling Decree 47 of 1971, to promote and encourage the acquisition of skills in industry and commerce with a view of generating a pool of indigenous trained manpower to meet the needs of the economy. Universities, Colleges of technology and Polytechnic students should be trained to acquire more skills through industries to supplement their theory and practice in institutions. Therefore, both institutions and industries and the funding body (ITF) should work together for sustainable skill acquisition and economic development.

References

[1] UNDP (2013). Human Development Report 2013, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World -Explanatory note on 2013 HDR Composite Indices Nigeria, Available at Available at http://hdrstats.undp.org/images/explanations/NGA.pdf.

[2] Hungerford, C. R. (2000). Towards a new scenario for Universities business collaboration in the education and training of employment. partnership for employee training: Implication of Education and Industry. Dissertation Abstract International, vol. II (9), 2598.A.

[3] Jen, S. U. (2004).Challenges of Polytechnic Education in Nigeria. Yola: Procter Publishers.

[4] Ogwo, B. A. (2000). Industry-based supervisors training techniques in the students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) in nine states of Nigeria. Nigerian Vocational Journal, vol. X, pp. 39-43.

[5] Bappah, A. S. (2014). Repositioning technical and engineering education in the framework of active security consciousness in Nigeria. E-Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences Research 2014 (ICSSR 2014), pp. 1-10 Available at http://worldconferences.net/proceedings/icssr2014/toc/index.html

[6] Curitiba , S. O. (1997). Towards a more effective manpower training and development in the field of technical and technology education in Nigeria. Journal of Technical Education Review, vol. II (2), pp. 430-439.

[7] Ruth, G. L. (1999). Charting new courses for industry and education partnership. Journal of Vocational/Technical Education Research, vol. 12 (3), pp. 27-34.

[8] Greenburg. J. A and Ma'aji, A. S. (1999). Emerging pattern of cooperative arrangement. Journal of Studies in Technical Career vol. 6 (4), pp. 250-256.

[9] Amasa, G. D. (1996). School-industry partnership: A vehicle for social and economic development in Nigeria. Journal of Nigeria Association of Teachers of Technology vol.2 (1), pp. 31-42.