UNESCO, ESPOLY Task Nigerian Students On Skills Acquisition

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and ESPOLY Business and Innovation School (EBIS) Enugu, have advised Nigerian students to acquire additional skills to help them withstand the country’s dire economic realities.

The two bodies gave the advice during an event organised by EBIS in commemoration of 2023 World Youth Day and Unveiling of Skillnet in Enugu.

The event which was in collaboration with UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC) has the theme, “Skilling Teachers, Trainers, and Youth for a Transformative Future”.

Prof. Chinedu Nebo in a keynote address, charged students on additional skills outside their degree certificate to fit in the technological environment they found themselves in.

He said:”What I can tell you from my experience as Vice Chancellors of many universities is that very soon, university degrees will become mundane and obsolete.

“If you don’t have any skill, you will find yourself in hot problems, that is the reason, programmes such as this need all the support that it needs.

“And if we don’t prepare our young people for the future, we are going to raise an army of unprotected restful youths”.

He explained that what was invoked now was international certifications, especially on Information Communication and Technology or skills adding that without them, no student can be marketable.

“It won’t be long and people will look at your degree and ask what else which means other certificates and skills you acquired.

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“Artificial intelligence is taking over the world now, so if you are not competent in those areas, you will be de-marketed,” he advised.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Executive Director, EBIS, Mr Roland Ediawe, said the school was using the day to unveil “Skillnet” a one- stop platform designed by EBIS to power its activities globally.

He described skillnet as its engine-room platform that deals with all the issues associated with skill development and its commercialisation for socio-economic benefits at both micro and macro levels.

Ediawe said unemployment in Nigeria was traceable to poor quality education and lack of the desired working skills needed to drive the modern economy.

He said, “Many job seekers lack the necessary employable skills and task specific knowledge needed which has contributed to national unemployment.

“Skillnet also serves as a marketplace for freelancers and professional services providers that connect businesses with people in areas of ICT, Engineering, Agribusiness and others to help these youths achieve their desired skills”.

Gov.Peter Mbah of Enugu State in a remark, said the theme for the event reminded us of the crucial role that education, mentorship, and collaboration play in shaping a brighter and more inclusive world.

Mbah, represented by his Special Adviser on SMEs Development, Arinze Chil-Offiah, said the challenges facing Nigeria were diverse and complex, adding that to navigate these challenges successfully, we must invest in the greatest resource we had on the talent and skills of the youth.

“Our young generation possesses the innovation, creativity, and energy that can drive the transformation of our societies for the better,”Mbah said.

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Prof. E. Osinem, the UNESCO-UNEVOC, Southeast Coordinator, noted equipping young people with quality education, training and stills, was essential.

He, however, advised Nigerian students on digital literacy skill, stressing that the world was evolving towards ICT which they must adapt to.

Also speaking, the Rector of Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwolloh, Rev. Fr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, represented by the Deputy Rector, Ejike Ajibo, urged the students to scale through the environment to see what was lacking and build their skills on it.

He added that youth’s energy was like a flood which if channeled properly would flow well but failure to channel it well would flow its own way that was destructive.

“The problem of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes is being driven by hunger and unemployment as a result of youthful energy that was not properly channeled,” he said.

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