From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has inaugurated three ad-hoc committees that would upscale skills development in Nigeria, and also strengthen its intervention activities.

The Committees are Committee on operationalisation of equipment upgrade in workshops and laboratories for Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (technical).

The others are the Committee on assessment/review of TETFund Centres of Excellence, and Committee on operationalisation of skills development special intervention.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, who inaugurated the committees in Abuja, tasked them with the reference of assessing the state of workshops and laboratories in target institutions including equipment and other facilities in use.

On the Committee on assessment/review of TETFund centres of excellence, Echono said the Fund under the 2024 Intervention made provision for the upgrade of the most performing Centres of Excellence.

“The Fund considered it expedient to constitute an adhoc Committee chaired by Prof. Oyewale Tomori, to assess and review the performance and progress of the Centres of Excellence in the Universities in line with their specific mandate. The Terms of Reference for the Committee include assessing performance of the existing TETFund Centres of Excellence hosted in universities based on their given mandates and areas of specialisation, among others.

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He charged the Committees to ensure that various skills facilities were put to use for effective operations, adding that promotion of skills development was one of the priority areas of government to address the prevailing challenges of youth unemployment and prevalence of poverty in our society.

He commended the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for making deliberate efforts to improve skill development in Nigerian polytechnics by formalising the informal apprenticeship training through The National Skills Qualification framework (NSOF).

He charged the Committee to assess the present state of skills development programmes in Polytechnics based on the entrepreneurship and skills development policy of the government.

Responding, the Chairman, Committee on operationalisation of skills development special intervention, Prof. Idris Bugaje, commended the Fund for investing in skills development saying that this lies in the future of the youths.

He said the three committees are very important because skills cut across all of them. “In the past, polytechnics behaved like ivory towers doing what universities are doing. This is not right, we are complementary to universities.

“We have specific roles to play and the role is the provision of skills. We must train our own and use them. Dangote invests in skills from India, Trans-Sahara pipeline import skills and a whole others. We must not allow this, our equipment is not working, so we must ensure we upgrade them, train our own and use them,” he said.