The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government will sustain investment in technical and vocational education to drive the state’s industrial growth.
The governor gave the assurance when he received members of the Benin College Old Students’ Association Worldwide, led by the President, Rev. Friday Emuze, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
Obaseki disclosed that his government plans to build about 20 technical colleges, with one in each local council of the state to cater for the manpower to drive Edo’s industrial growth, ensuring the creation of employment opportunities and attainment of self-sufficiency.
Heeding the group’s request for the Government Science and Technical College, Benin to revert to its original name, the Benin Technical College, the governor said, “You are right, there was really no need to change the name. I am going to have conversations with the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa-Oviawe, and make a strong adjustment.
“I am convinced that we should restore the school to its original name. I am also glad about how you are going to mark your anniversary by giving awards to the students and supporting students in sporting activities. By the way, we have plans to build mini stadia in that location to encourage sports.”
Obaseki continued: “We are working with the federal government in making sure that the Federal College of Education, Technical in Ekiadolor starts earnestly so that we can train a pool of teachers to help us begin to spread our new gospel of revamping technical education in our state.
“One of the reasons why we must go back to the Benin Technical College is that we are going to have more technical colleges in city centres; so let everybody bear their names.”
“We want to have 20 technical colleges; one in each local government. So, you can imagine the requirements in terms of teachers, technical know-how and equipment. Even if we have all the money, there are still some gaps to be filled,” he added.
The governor, who highlighted the importance of technical education in the socio-economic growth and development of any nation, said one of the major reasons for the high unemployment rate in Nigeria, apart from poor government policies, was the lack of skills.
He said, “It’s so obvious that this whole over-dependence on imported manufactured goods and foods for our existence is not tenable anymore. One of the major reasons for unemployment and joblessness, apart from government policies, was the lack of skills; lack of skilled people and artisans.
“People just look down on vocational training; everybody just wants a degree and certificates. We were very clear right from day one that the way to go was to rethink our educational system to produce self-reliant people.”
Earlier, the President of Benin Technical College Old Students Association Worldwide, Rev. Emuze, commended the governor for reviving technical education in the state, ensuring the repositioning of the Benin Technical College.