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.

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