STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING MAINTENANCE OF LABORATORIES AND EQUIPMENT OF VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION FOR EFFECTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
Vocational and technical education is an educational training which encompasses knowledge, skills competencies, structural, activities, abilities, capabilities and all other experiences acquired through formal, on the job or off the job which are capable of enhancing recipients and creating opportunity for securing job (Okolocha, 2006). The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) outlined the goals of Vocational and Technical Educa tion (VTE) in the National Policy on Education document as follows:
- Provide trained manpower in the applied sciences, technology and business particularly at craft, and technical levels.
- Provide the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agriculture, commerce and economic development.
- Give training and impart the necessary skills to individuals who shall be self-reliant economically while at the post secondary (tertiary) technical institute such as Polytechnics or colleges of education (technical) and universities.
To be able to achieve this goal of vocational technical education, there must be adequate instructional facilities such as laboratories and equipment for the teachings and learning of vocational and technical education skills, knowledge and competencies at the tertiary level. vocational and technical education include training in engineering such as Electrical, Mechanical, Welding and Fabrication, Agricultural, science laboratory, computer science, other courses include office technology, food technology hospitality, business administration, accountancy etc. These courses are taught at colleges of education, polytechnic and the universities.
Since these courses require high level of practical skills acquisition, there is need for functional workshops or laboratories. Laboratories in VTE may not be properly financed or funded, but there is need for appropriate maintenance culture to be practiced in the laboratory for sustainable acquisition of practical skills. This study therefore intends to identify the strategies for improving maintenance of laboratories and equipment of vocational and technical education for effective service delivery in tertiary institutions.
Statement of the Problem
One of the principal roles of vocational technical education institutions is to promote skill acquisition among the youth through training. This is a sure step towards achieving the goals of vocational technical education. Skill acquisition leads to self reliance and self employment among graduates of vocational technical education. Uzoagulu (1993) opined that manipulative skills can not be effectively impacted theoretically and that laboratories, equipment and tools are very much required in the training for practical skill acquisition.
Ogbuanya (2004) observed that government in realization of the importance of tools, equipment and laboratories in skill training and scientific knowledge has provided funds for tools, equipment and laboratories at the secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Inspite of the huge financial commitment of government in the provision of laboratories, tools and equipment, Anyakoha (1992) stated that these equipment, tools and laboratories lack maintenance. The unfortunate and regrettable state of equipment tools and laboratories have been attributed to inability of the operators to apply preventive and total maintenance culture as at when due, on the equipment tools and laboratories. This paper intends to address the problem of poor maintenance culture in vocational technical education institutions at the tertiary level.
The problem of this study is therefore to identify the required strategies that will enhance and promote high maintenance culture of laboratories, workshops and equipment in vocational technical education at tertiary level.