For over five years, I have committed myself to the process of making education in Nigeria functional and flexible instead of the rigid, traditional system we have been operating. My objective was for our system to adopt an alternate education pathway to produce graduates who will add immediate value upon completion of studies by incorporating entrepreneurship and leadership in their regular school work. This in addition provides alternate pathways to the acquisition of formal education without necessarily going through the four walls of the university or polytechnic.
The process was really tough being a non-state actor without the needed political willpower to get it done from the top. Help came by way of The German Nigeria Dual Vocational Training (DVT) scheme providing an excellent platform to promote the initiative in line with the pursuance of their objective of upgrading the capacity of our workforce to suit international standards. The Nigerian government under His Excellency, Goodluck Jonathan had entered an economic/trade agreement with the German government sometime in 2015 to make this dream possible.
The first phase of this project involved going through the German DVT certificate program where I was certified as a trainer of trainers in administration in 2015 and afterward commenced the training of young professionals drawn from different organizations (private and public)
Then in 2020, we proceeded to the next stage where we engaged the relevant government authorities through the Federal Ministry of Education and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in curriculum review by industry experts in various fields covered by the scheme; my primary focus was office administration. The essence of the review was to bring the existing curriculum in Nigeria up to speed with global best standards.
Alternate Education Workshop
Alternate Education Structure
This alternate education system is structured to be dynamic, engaging, effective, and above all flexible such that the trainees can retain their jobs while undergoing the training. Trainees are meant to spend 3 straight months at work where they are engaged in day-to-day operations and then will be back in class for one month where they will be exposed to the theoretical part of their work as well as applicable levels of practical exposure according to global industry standards. That means a roadside mechanic, electrician or office clerk who never went to the higher institution to acquire some education will have the opportunity to go through the alternate education system, upgrade their skills and still acquire an equivalent certificate to back it up just like it is practiced in developed countries especially Germany where the DVT scheme was copied from.
Breakaway session with my team
The equivalent qualifications range from levels 1 to 5 corresponding with a junior secondary certificate to postgraduate levels respectively. In Germany, a typical motor mechanic that undergoes this training is not only able to fix vehicles but also build functional parts of the car including the engine and engine components; this DVT scheme has been in operation there for over 100 years and has immensely supported technological and entrepreneurial development with positive GDP correlations in their economy. In fact, vocational training is the secret behind the strength of German machines.
So you can imagine the great impact this would have on Nigeria’s economy when it comes fully on stream with thousands of our youths onboarded in the scheme.
This scheme is funded largely by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) administered by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK), Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK) and mainstreamed here by the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce. Also, Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Nigeria, Abuja Chamber of Commerce, etc are critical partners too.
It is a structure I believe in especially as it aligns with my mission of building leadership capacity. In fact, some of its benefits are encompassed in my previous article – How To Discover Yourself Using The Self-Discovery Matrix 1 and Part 2. This alternate education pathway can be a great tool for self-discovery even as a nation as we align our strengths with purpose.
Some of the broad benefits of this style of education include;
- Promoting vocational education in Nigeria and enhancing skill development along with it.
- Driving away poverty through sustainable economic development
- Improving qualification and employability of young Nigerians
- Providing an alternative, flexible and affordable pathway to acquiring skills and relevant qualifications
So far, preliminary training has begun in Abuja, Lagos, and Ogun through their Chambers of Commerce and the participating governments. Hopefully, it will spread to all the states of the federation while we expect full ratification and domestication by the Ministry of Education and NBTE.
We have gained a reasonable milestone on this project but still have a long way to go before we begin to celebrate. As non-state actors, I believe you and I can do something great to consistently make our nation greater and better. What are you doing?