1.1 Background to the Study
On attainment of independence in 1960, Nigeria was faced with the problem of social and economic development problems. Also there was the need to develop all aspects of education in the country. Vocational and technical education was one of those aspects expected to build up the nation to reduce joblessness among youths. As indicated by Nnanna, (2012), in an offer to develop Nigeria and tackle the issues of unemployment, numerous commissions were set up to analyze the educational and manpower prerequisites in various divisions of the economy. Such reports was the Ashby commission titled “Investment in Education” in 1960 and Cottiers/Caunce report on the development of technical and commercial education below professional level between 1961- 1976. The Ashby commission report suggested measures which would help to establish the foundation upon which Nigeria could build a balanced system of vocational/technical education. He was of the opinion that technicians were grossly in short supply, and that facilities for training them were inadequate. In a related manner Cottiers/Caunce report noted with dissatisfaction, the absence of national survey to ascertain from industries, the nature and extent of the educational needs for the planning and administration for the vocational education system. The report additionally revealed that since firms do not stay static, such overview must be nonstop with the goal that mechanical innovation will reflect in the vocational education curriculum. The important aspect of the report was the recognition of the fact that there was need to develop and increase vocational and technical education in Nigeria. And this informed the establishment of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), by Decree No, 24 of 1989, to train young people on vocational education and skill acquisition, with the aim to reduce unemployment (Amoor, 2009).
According to the National Policy on Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), vocational education is that aspect of education that leads to the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. Vocational and technical education is directed towards the preparation for occupational life, since the recipients are equipped to face the challenges of the world of work for national development. In a related way, Okonkwo and Obinali, (2012) attested that the objective of vocational education and training is to influence the fundamental practical skills, potential, work propensities, attitudes and different qualities to the beneficiaries. This is aimed at preparing the students for self reliance through self-employment. In confirmation of this assertion, Odugbesan (1995) noticed that vocational education furnishes the beneficiaries with all the important work qualities, pragmatic skills and abilities, knowledge and attitude to empower them live independently after graduation. In most developed nations of the world, vocational education and training are given an intense consideration and are viewed as an important investment. This is the reason many youths through vocational training have acquired the right skills that will enable them secure employment which at the long run benefit them and the society.
On contrary, the poor state of vocational education and training in Nigeria started right from the educational foundation instituted by the colonial government which paid more emphasis on training students for white collar jobs but paid little or no attention to vocational education and training. Vocational education and training promotes self reliant among the students on graduation. Unfortunately, after numerous years of independent, Nigeria despite everything is still practicing the pre-independent type of education, which just prepare graduates to look for civil service and other related employments, in spite establishment of specialized institutions such as universities of technology and polytechnics which is yet to produce the required result to address this issues.
Presently, there are 125 technical/vocational centres in the Nigeria (www.everyculture.com/-/nigeria.html) which is not adequate compared to the increasing population of Nigeria estimated at 170 million. These few vocational centres cannot produce enough skilled manpower to reduce the increasing unemployed people in Nigeria. Nnanna (2002) noticed that, Government of different administrations, have endeavored to improve educational delivery particularly as it identifies with vocational and technical education. This is because of the recognition of the role which vocational education and training would play in the development of the country, by a way of reducing unemployment and youth restiveness in Nigeria. Hence, the degree to which vocational education and training shows in reducing unemployment in Nigeria forms the basis of this study.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Poverty reduction or income generation is significant in the lives of the young people after degree education. The inquiries along these lines are: what is the expectation of Nigeria youths after their degree education? Do they truly find their potentials and capabilities having scaled through the degree education? What at that point would we be able to state are the contributions of Nigeria tertiary educational institutions to the reduction of youths unemployment in the nation? It is important; to learn the power of Nigerian higher education for poverty reduction among the young people and to proffer that Technical and Vocational Education is one of the measures for improvement and supportability of youth empowerment.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the role of vocational education in reducing unemployment in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives include:
- To understand the skill areas of vocational and technical education that can provide employment for youth in Nigeria
- To examine the relevant areas of self independent in vocational and technical education
- To identify the problems and prospects of vocational and technical education
- To determine the causes of youth unemployment and the consequences of youth unemployment
1.4 Research Questions
The followings are the research questions this study is poised to give answers to:
- What are the skill areas of vocational and technical education that can provide employment for youth in Nigeria?
- What are the relevant areas of self independent in vocational and technical education?
- What are the problems and prospects of vocational and technical education?
- What are the causes of youth unemployment and the consequences of youth unemployment?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following statements are considered to be the research hypotheses that will be tested in this study:
- There is a significant relationship between vocational and technical education and employment opportunities
- There is a significant impact of unemployment on youth in society.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Unemployment as the term implies, has been a major problem experienced all over the country. Some youths hardly know that vocational and technical education can enhance the rate of employment in the country as well as the well being of themselves and the society. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to find out how vocational and technical education can be of help in addressing youth unemployment in Nigeria. It seeks to assess how the training and skills acquired in vocational/technical education can provide the necessary platform to promote entrepreneurship as well as reduce unemployment. It is believed that vocational/technical education holds the key to national development. How can the youth be empowered to acquire skills and ideas to reduce the present mismatch between labour demands and employability of Nigerian youths. This study seeks to define the concept of vocational and technical education, examine some of the factors that promote unemployment, assess government efforts at reducing unemployment and the potential impact of vocational and technical education in promoting entrepreneurship. It concludes by proposing some strategies that can sustain an entrepreneurial culture and reduction in youth unemployment.
However, this study will be very beneficial to the youths, also to the state and federal government, as it is aimed at ascertaining the importance of vocational and technical education and how it serves as a source of employment and self reliance for the individuals of the society with reference to the youths in particular.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is to cover relevant areas as regarded the contribution of vocational and technical education to the overall improvement of unemployment in the society. The areas to be covered in this study are some areas in Lagos Mainland Local Government, Lagos State.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined as they are going to be used in this study:-
Vocation: A Latin word which means a calling and an invitation to understand some important tasks.
Unemployment: Unemployment implies lack of employment or refers to a situation where people are not able to find paid work.
Youth: A young person who has not yet reached adulthood and refers to the time period before childhood and adulthood
Skills: An ability and capacity acquired through deliberate systematic and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job function involving ideas, things and people.