From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
In a bid to equip teenagers to marry vocational skills with academics to meeting the challenges of the 21st century, the Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Rosemary Ojochenemi Osikoya, has inaugurated a two weeks Adolescents Vocational Camp to get them trained in various vocations aimed at keeping the lads busy throughout the vacation period.
The Commissioner , while declaring the training programme opened in Lokoja disclosed that gone were the days when people relied solely on academic certificates to get employment , saying that the dynamics of today favours those with practical skills to creating jobs for themselves and for the others.
She said the two weeks training for boys and girls within age 10- 19 who are in Secondary schools and those that have just finished their WASCE is being handled by Chateko Vocational Institute under the management of Ladi Memorial Foundation, ( LMF) .
According to her the participants would be trained in tailoring , soap making , bread making, beads making and pasteries etc is to equip them to use both their hands and their brains to solve life problems, saying that any education that cannot solve problems is worthless.
Osikoya urged the lads to take the two weeks apprenticeship very serious as it will help them to be self sustainable adding that with the skills that they will acquire could be used to assist their parents when they get to the tertiary institutions.
“ Research has shown that persons with practical skills helps to reduce the monotony of reading. God forbids, but bad things can happen to parents anytime which can truncate the education of their children. But when one has a skill , one can weather the storm when it happened.
“ Tertiary institutions is meant for the adults. Ordinarily, one is supposed to be able bear the cost of education by his or herself . I advise you to learn a skill to earn a living and also assist your parents in paying your schools fees” The Commissioner advised.
According to her , the ministry has established eight home economics centres in Lokoja , the state capital to cater for the training of vulnerable women in various vocations adding that the centres were evenly spread across the metropolis to reduce the cost of traveling long distances to reach a centre.
The Commissioner who was assisted by State Cordinator of National Business and Technical Education Board ( NABTEB) Mrs Pauline Ajibili and her counterpart from the Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria ( TRCN) Mrs. Zainab Lawal and some officials of the ministry called on the parents to avail their holidaying children the opportunity to earn a skill while soliciting for the well meaning individuals to sponsor some children for the training.
Speaking to Our Correspondent, one of the participants, Master David Osikoya , who is waiting for his admission to the University, said he was motivated to enroll for the training because , he want to be able to sew clothing for himself instead of calling for tailors.
He called on the teenagers to enroll at any vocational centre near their homes to avoid engaging in predatory activities while waiting for admission or during long vacations.