FG inaugurates $200m World Bank-backed IDEAS Project

The Federal Government on Monday inaugurated the Innovation Development and Effectiveness in Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS) Project to address challenges facing the nation’s education sector.

World Bank is supporting the IDEAS Project in each of the participating state with the sum of 200 million dollars credit facility for its smooth implementation.

The project has four components with the core objective of  enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian skills development system to produce relevant skills for the formal and informal sectors.

The first component aims to provide grant for the rehabilitation and upgrading of Federal and State Technical Colleges to transform their operational models into public private partnerships, in which industry partners assume prominent role in institutional governance, management and planning, training and service delivery.

The second component will deliver a comprehensive capacity development intervention package for the improvement and modernization of informal apprenticeships to selected informal sector clusters.

The third component will improve the availability of appropriately skilled and competent technical teachers and instructors in the skills development space throughout the country, including teaching staff of private skills development institutions, starting with teaching staff in technical colleges.

The fourth component will rolling-out Nigerian Skills Qualifications Framework reform, which involves curriculum development and revision based on National Occupational Standard, and training and certification of assessors and trainers.

The inauguration was marked with a workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the World Bank to ensure the success of the IDEAS project.

The workshop, held at the Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja was for monitoring and evaluation officers in the education sector.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said that the successful implementation of the IDEAS Project would help Nigeria to grow its economy.

Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Andrew Adejoh, said monitoring and evaluation officers were being trained to achieve the objectives of the project.

According to the minister, the training will enhance their capacity to effectively carry out their assigned activities across all the four project components of the scheme.

He maintained that the training workshop was meant to achieve the sole aim of strengthening, monitoring and evaluation capacity in the management of the IDEAS Project.

Also speaking at the event, the Country Director, World Bank, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, urged the benefitting states to make a judicious use of the funds to improve the education sector.

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who also spoke at the event, challenged stakeholders in the education sector to evolve a new approach to upgrade the education system in the country as the ‘white-collar-focused’ system could no longer support national development.

Fayemi, who was represented by Ekiti State Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Mrs Olabimpe Aderiye, spoke on the topic “Re-engineering the Nigerian mind from white collar to blue collar enterprises”.

The governor noted that the focus of education in Nigeria had not changed much as bequeathed by colonial administrations.

According to the governor, the nation’s educational system has drastically fallen behind in the contemporary world, making it mandatory for governments at all levels to seek a more fitting system of education for today’s world.

He said: ”Today’s world requires digital, entrepreneurial and vocational skills, accompanying the conventional education, for any nation to catch up with the rest of the world.”

Fayemi, therefore, charged all stakeholders, including government, to urgently come up with the needed redirection to proffer solutions to Nigeria’s myriad of challenges.

“On a general note, education is an essential aspect of civilization and it is an impetus for individual and societal growth and development.

”Therefore, no contemporary nation can toy with her educational system because the educational system of a country will speak volume about her progress.

“The educational system bequeathed to us by our colonial masters and the current system of education in Nigeria are gradually being overtaken by civilization and technological advancement, manifesting in artificial intelligence, automation robotics and the likes,” he said.

This, he said, had  resulted in educational policy summersault and labour market congestion, with its attendant vices.

“Arising from this standpoint therefore, there is the urgent need to rejig our educational system to proffer solutions to the avalanche of challenges confronting us as a nation.

”It is high time we tackle the menace with strong determination for a paradigm shift from the white collar to the blue-collar enterprises,” he added.