From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti

A China-based public college, Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute, which is supported by the Chinese government under the Belt and Road Initiative, has been at the forefront supporting Nigeria’s tertiary education, particularly technical and vocational education. 

Since a major development challenge in Nigeria is how to address labour market skills shortages, meet industry-specific skill demands and facilitate the transfer of technical skills and capabilities for operating large industrial projects to Nigerian citizens, Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute has been collaborating with polytechnics in the country to tackle this challenge.

The college has been supporting TVET teachers’ capacity development in Nigeria through its various interventions.

The Association of Proprietors of Innovation and Vocational Institutions formally presented some curriculums produced by Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute and stakeholders in Nigeria to the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in Abuja, about three years ago.

The curriculums have so far been helpful in revamping technical and vocational education in Nigeria.

On the institute and the success it has recorded so far, an expert in TVET, as well as the consultant of Shaanxi Polytechnic, country representative, Mr. Julius Ayodele, said the collaboration of Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute with polytechnics in Nigeria was approved by the Federal Ministry of Education through a letter conveyed to the institute by the NBTE in February 2021.

Ayodele noted that with the approval of the Federal Ministry of Education, many polytechnics and their students have benefitted in one way or the other from Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute programmes in Nigeria.

According to him, “The capacity development programmes that have been completed by Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute include the following; shared curriculum with Nigeria polytechnics, domestication of curriculum, curriculum review, online workshops, winter camp with the focus on Chinese language and cultural awareness. 

Others are advisory and consultative work with polytechnics on how to improve quality of their provision, sharing training resources with some Nigeria polytechnics, meeting with stakeholders online to discuss ideas and creative ways Chinese TVET institutions will be able to support Nigeria polytechnics”.

Ayodele explained that Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute is helping to improve the quality of curriculum, saying that their support will help improve the capacities of the polytechnics in the country and provide employability skills, which will help solve unemployment particularly among the youth.

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Applauding the partnership pact with the Chinese polytechnic, the acting Rector of the First Irish Business School, Lagos State, Dr. Louis Odubanjo, who participated in the signing of the partnership deal, and involved in the curriculum development as well as adaptation of some of the Shaanxi Polytechnic programmes for Nigerians, stated that the curriculum development and adaptation for use by partner schools have been very successful but needed to speed up. 

The educational evaluation specialist said that, “as it stands now, the process awaits national critique by the NBTE in Nigeria.

“The completion of the national critique exercise is important to begin the use of that curriculum in the country. The support for equipment and tools (both hardware and software) and manpower development are all essential”.

Similarly, the Rector, St. Winifred Innovation Institute, Dr. Andrews Jegede, opined that the contract with Shaanxi Polytechnic to domesticate curriculum for Nigerians was carried out successfully.

Jegede, said he was able to develop and domesticate the following curriculum of Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute; NID and HNID Networking and System Security, NID and HNID Digital Multimedia Technology, NID and HNID Welding and Fabrication Automation, NID and HNID Computer Software Engineering.

Also, the Dean, Research and Innovative, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State, Dr Grace Korter, who is the contact person for the collaboration between the Institution and Shaanxi Polytechnic institute, said the Federal Polytechnic Offa, is in collaboration with Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute in the following areas; vurricula cooperation, student internship in China, education officials and school leaders visit to China.

To scale up Mechanical, Electrical/Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology Departments according to Dr. Korter, the polytechnic also entered into collaboration with the Institute, he added that a new department, Urban Rail Engineering Technology Department would be established in due course. 

“Capacity building for staff; staff and student exchange programmes; curriculum domestication; Chinese village/institute; Chinese restaurant among others are the focus of the collaboration for an improved academic system.”

Speaking on the other areas of involvement, she maintained that the Federal Polytechnic Offa took part in the 2022 virtual winter camp for Chinese language and traditional clothing handicraft at Shaanxi Polytechnic Institute held between December 12th-23rd, 2022.

She therefore called on the management to hasten up the process of the curriculum at the Federal Polytechnic Offa “Our request is for the management to hasten the process to enable commencement of Chinese Restaurant at the Federal Polytechnic, Offa.