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Why Technical Education Faded in Nigerian Secondary Schools

Why Technical Education Faded in Nigerian Secondary Schools

A community member shared this photo by tagging me with this note: “Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Prof, there is an urgent need to implement this gesture in our schools.”

Celestine, technical colleges and secondary schools are not new in Nigeria. I attended one – Secondary Technical School, Ovim. After the Biafra War, the community development union in my village, Ovim Community League (OCL), funded and built a world-class technical school, and handed it over to the government. The goal: educate Ovim sons and daughters on practical and technical things.

During my time,  from SSI, you could specialize in the Art, Science and Technical lines. The Technical line had subjects like Automotive Technology /Motor Vehicle Technology, Woodwork Technology, Technical Drawing, Fine Arts, etc. Many young people joined and used the workshop. They passed WAEC.

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Then the paralysis began: they noticed that getting an A in Automotive Technology would not help you get admitted to study Mechanical engineering in the university or polytechnic.  Universities still needed Physics and Chemistry. In other words, even going for an OND in technical areas would require everyone getting Physics and Chemistry with no waivers for those Technical line students. As that became evident, parents picked the message: Technical line was designed for dead ends.

Magically, over time, no kid pursued that line in the school. And teachers like Mr. Onyeacho (head Workshop) left.  And today, there is no more technical line. JAMB requirements for university admission destroyed the line. We have people who followed that path, started mechanic jobs and overtime wanted to upgrade in Polytechnic Nekede, but somehow they would still be expected to do Physics and Chemistry. If Physics and Chemistry get you to all the doors, why bother with the technical line?

I have noted that JAMB, polytechnics and universities must modulate entrance requirements. At least, some of the technical subjects from WAEC should be considered for CORE entry requirements for admissions to relevant polytechnic and university programs. You can be a mechanic today, but tomorrow, you may have an ambition to be a mechanical engineer; those subjects could substitute. If not, the Technical line will continue to frustrate kids like the Commercial line which promised so much but only to deliver nothing that could be used for university admissions.


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1 THOUGHT ON Why Technical Education Faded in Nigerian Secondary Schools

  1. When it comes to education system, Nigeria is essentially aimless and directionless. Our schools have nothing to do with national aspirations and strategic objectives, we just trudge on, wasting everyone’s time. We ended up converting many of the polytechnics to universities, because it felt like why we set up schools was to grade people via civil service. That is how pathetic we have been, but of course we make a lot of noise and we are very proud and boastful; so we keep deluding ourselves that we are great.

    We became so bad to the point that those who studied engineering will need to visit workshops of those who never had engineering degree to have basic practical knowledge of things. Till today, the people we graduate from courses like Philosophy, Zoology, Political Science and even Psychology, how do we use them and what do we know about them? We have no defined vector, but we still believe that we are good enough to become great.

    Technical Colleges which I happened to be a product of are never recognized and appreciated, we value phonetics and those who can mimic native speakers of English over those who can get stuff done, and that is why we are only good at hosting fruitless conferences and workshops.

    We are that bad.

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