National skills qualification, a precondition for polytechnic’s accreditation in 2023 – NBTE

By Philip Yatai

The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has set the National Skills Qualification (NSQ) training as a precondition for accreditation of National Diploma (ND) programmes in Polytechnics and Monotechnics.

The NSQ is a work related and competence-based qualification with skills assessed at both the training centre and workplace.

The qualifications show understanding of the theory of the work and the competency of the individual as evidenced in their specific job role issued by a recognised awarding body.

The Executive Secretary of the Board, Prof. Idris Bugaje, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Monday.

“We have asked every polytechnic and monotechnic to start NSQ training and by 2023, no polytechnic will be accredited for ND programme if they do not have an NSQ training centre.

“Keying into the NSQF by the polytechnics and monotechnics will enable the students to graduate with dual certificates: ND and the NSQ.

“This is in line with the Nigerian Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), a system for the development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge, and competencies irrespective of where and how the training or skill was acquired.

“The system gives a clear statement of what the learner must know or be able to do whether the learning took place in a classroom, on-the-job, or less formally,” he said.

The executive secretary said that the full implementation of the NSQF, approved in 2013 by the Federal Executive Council and inaugurated in 2017, was making gradual progress.

He said that the National Council of Skills, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the upgrade of the NSQF from a six to a nine-level framework.

This, according to him, is to make it in tandem to what is being obtained in the United Kingdom and other European countries.

“That is a major improvement on the scheme. What is remaining is its entrenchment into the Nigerian vocational skills training system.

“The NSQ is supposed to replace trade tests, city and guilds and all other forms of skills certification in the country and that can only happen through an act of the National Assembly.

“Process is already in motion for that to happen and once the Bill is passed and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the NSQ will be on the path for full implementation.”

Bugaje said that the Draft Bill made a provision for a National Skill Fund to fund institutions in any part of the country that wished to establish skills development centres for skills training programmes.

He added that the fund would also support effective training of students and staff under the Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme.

“There are about 13 to 14 Sector Skill Councils and many of them are already running NSQ programme, especially the construction, welding and fabrication in several institutions across the country.

“Currently about 900 training centres across the country are running NSQ programme, but we need to increase the number into thousands.

“We are already working to bring the about 8,300 ad hoc and informal skills training centres in the country operating without certification into the NSQ programme.

“Once on the NSQ programme, the certificates issued by these centres will be recognized anywhere in the world,” he said.

The NBTE boss described skill as a “very powerful weapon” that can be used to transform the country and the position of Nigeria globally.

According to him, Nigerian youths will dominate the world if empowered with relevant skills. (NAN)