Bakare urges high vocational content in basic education curricula

Muhtar-Bakare

Muhtar Bakare

Developing vocational skills and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in the education system has the capacity to positively impact on the country’s economic and social outlook, so says Managing Director of Pearson Nigeria, Mr. Muhtar Bakare.

To this end, firm’s chief executive is calling for the increase of vocational contents in the national basic education curricula, in order to foster innovation and entrepreneurship among Nigeria’s young people and secure the country’s long-term growth and prosperity.

Pearson is reputed as the world’s largest education company.
Bakare expressed the belief that along with entrenching a range of relevant vocational skills within the economy, improving the entrepreneurship skills of a population has been closely linked to poverty reduction, as well as improved economic growth, productivity and employment rates.

He added that the economic success of Malaysia and other East Asian economic ‘tigers’ was often attributed, in part, to the emphasis placed on vocational skills and entrepreneurship by governments and education providers. Vocational education and entrepreneurship, he stressed are encouraged by major international organisations, including the World Bank and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), for their role in reducing poverty and empowering disenfranchised members of the community, such as women and young people.

“We need to make vocational skills as important and valued as academic skills in our economy. We must embed entrepreneurship into education and training at all levels. This means from the earliest years of schooling, children must understand the benefits of entrepreneurship and how it can be fostered. Aligned to this is making curriculum changes so that entrepreneurship-related skills and practices are given adequate attention in the classroom. Perhaps most importantly, our educators need to be given the professional development training necessary for them to encourage these skills amongst their students and make entrepreneurship a better-understood skill amongst the teaching population”.

Nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit, at a scalable level, amongst Nigeria’s youth, he continued, could therefore have significant benefits for the country, including reduced youth unemployment and improved standards of living.

He further stated that, “As we look to improve our education system, we need to be focusing on providing our learners with the skills they need to encourage long-term prosperity and success in a 21st century business and employment environment. Creating an entrepreneurial culture amongst our current generation of school students will have future benefits for Nigerian communities, both social and economically, as these students become business owners, employers and leaders of the future. Students need the functional skills and the inspiration to put innovative ideas into practice and make new innovations financially viable, we need to be looking at how our education system can better provide these skills.

Bakare added, “We need to make vocational skills as important and valued as academic skills in our economy. We must embed entrepreneurship into education and training at all levels. This means from the earliest years of schooling, children must understand the benefits of entrepreneurship and how it can be fostered. Aligned to this is making curriculum changes so that entrepreneurship-related skills and practices are given adequate attention in the classroom. Perhaps most importantly, our educators need to be given the professional development training necessary for them to encourage these skills amongst their students and make entrepreneurship a better-understood skill amongst the teaching population.”

The Pearson boss noted that cultivating entrepreneurship in the country will be a long-term project, and we cannot expect to see overnight success. We need to tailor a solution that is right for the Nigerian context, and that can be realistically applied. We also need to be able to measure the success of implemented programmes, with a view to making ongoing improvements that will benefit learners. If we can do these, then we will be on the right track towards raising entrepreneurship levels in Nigeria and enjoying the benefits that such improvements will bring.



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