NBTE introduces mandatory skills qualification in polytechnics

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The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), has introduced a  Mandatory Skills Qualification (MSQ) as a graduation requirement for all newly reviewed National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) curricula.

This is as the board says the introduction is in line with global trends, especially as skill acquisition is now central to the training of young Nigerians in polytechnics.

This is contained in a statement on Monday in Abuja, by Hajiya Fatimah Abubakar, the board’s Head of Media.

Abubakar explained that diploma holders would now graduate with a National Skills Qualification (NSQ) or its equivalent, as an additional certification.

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According to her, this means the MSQ is now a requirement for all diploma programmes and must be attained before graduation.

She also explained that the NSQ was a certification system designed to assess and recognise the skills and competencies of individuals in various fields.

According to her, it focuses on vocational skills and is typically obtained through vocational training programmes, apprenticeships, and assessments conducted by approved skill assessment bodies.

“NSQ aims to bridge the gap between formal education and industry needs by providing individuals with practical skills relevant to the job market.

“The dual certification of obtaining both an NSQ and an ND in Nigeria offers several benefits, including a comprehensive skill set, increased employability, versatility, professional recognition, and career progression”, she said.

The NBTE head of media further said that the dual certification opens doors to career advancement opportunities as well as providing a strong foundation for upward mobility and career growth.

”The dual certification offers a competitive edge in the job market, enhances career prospects, and equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their chosen fields.

”This dual certification is expected to significantly enhance employability. However, NBTE is aware of the limited skills training facilities in our polytechnics and is therefore allowing a phased introduction.

”The guideline provides polytechnic administrators with methods for implementing this new provision.

“Quality assurance is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness and relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes”, she noted.

She added that assessors would play vital role in this process, through evaluating the quality of education and training provided in various technical and vocational fields.

According to her, their role will include assessing standards, learning outcomes, and the overall performance of Skills Development Centres (SDCs) in polytechnics and other TVET institutions.

“Under the MSQ, HND level students who have acquired NSQ at the ND level can enroll in Quality Assurance Assessor (QAA) training as an alternative to another NSQ.

“The QAA certificate will be valuable in the workplace, as many industries require on-the-job training,” she said.

She noted that Nigeria’s technical manpower situation was characterised by several challenges, including skill shortages, a mismatch between industry needs and training, and a lack of synergy between industry, government agencies, and TVET institutions. (NAN)

By Funmilayo Adeyemi

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