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‘Skills not degrees’, NBTE boss Bugaje defends slogan

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By Philip Yatai

Prof. Idris Bugaje, Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), says the board’s slogan, “Skills not Degrees”, is to encourage Nigerian youths.

This, he said, would make more youths focus more on acquiring skills than certificates.

Bugaje made the clarification in an interview on Friday in Abuja.

He said that the clarification became necessary following a public misconception that the NBTE was discrediting university certificates in favour of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“The meaning of the NBTE slogan, “Skills not Degrees” is that Nigerians should focus more on skills, because this is what the world needs.

“In other words, if you have a skill without even a degree, you can find a very good job.

“But if you have a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or any other type of degree without skills, you will go nowhere. Nobody will employ you. That’s the main message,” he said.

The executive secretary urged Nigerian youths to focus on skills training to acquire skills qualifications, irrespective of the type of degree or higher diploma they have.

According to him, it is skills that will make Nigerian youths marketable in all global labour markets and make them more relevant to the needs of industries.

“So that is the message, basically.”

The NBTE boss also advocated for a dual qualification where universities award bachelor’s degrees and the National Skills Qualification degrees simultaneously to promote skill labour for self-reliance.

He explained that universities could make their student industrial work experience scheme more practical to enable students to acquire the necessary skills for self-employment.

He equally stressed the need for polytechnics and Federal Colleges of Education to roll out skills programmes in addition to the award of the National Diploma, Nigeria Certificate of Education, and Higher National Diploma (HND).

Failure to do so, he said, will render the future of graduates of polytechnics and colleges of education bleak.

“A paradigm shift to skills and entrepreneurship has become imminent, with skill as the global labour currency for the 21st century economies,” he said.

On its HND to B.Sc. top-up, Bugaje said that the programme was designed to facilitate the career and academic progression of HND holders.

NAN

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