CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1. Background of the study In Africa and in Nigeria in particular, governments are making efforts to promote technical and vocational education in institutions with the belief that skills acquired through vocational and technical training enhances productivity in work environment. Abban and Quarchie (1996) pointed out that a shift towards practical skills training with technical and vocational education in Africa is increasingly under reform to make it more attractive, effective and efficient. One of the most important features of technical and vocational education, as recognized by African governments, is its orientation towards the world of work with the curriculum emphasizing the performance of technical and vocational trainees in the work environment. African Union (2007) report also highlighted the current vision of African countries in developing a new strategy to revitalize technical and vocational education will promote skills acquisition through competency-based training. If this vision should materialize, it will require ability testing for employment in order to promote sustainable livelihoods and responsible citizenship. In achieving the goal of work place performance of technical and vocational graduates, Roeske (2003) explained, the Nigerian Industrial Skills Development Center was established in 2002. This center, working in close collaboration with the Association of Nigerian Industries and the Nigerian Employers Association, was tasked to harness the financial and material resources required for achieving and promoting excellence in skills training. A number of other institutions like Integrated Community Center for Employable Skills, the Opportunities Industrialization Center and the Department of Social Welfare’s Vocational Centers are parts of government effort to produce skillful technical and vocational personnel. Other innovative programmes like the Skills Training and Employment Placement (STEP) and the Vocational Skills Project were also kept in place to bring out the talented and skillful technical and vocational personnel for the job market (Roeske, 2003). The Nigeria Regional Appropriate Technology Industrial Service and the Intermediate Technology Transfers Units are also providing technical and vocational education graduates with additional and enriched practical skills to enable them set up their own enterprises. All these interventions have not yielded the expected result.
1.2 Statement of the Problem The poor performance of graduates in other disciplines has become a menace in that it has grossly aected the economic output as a nation. Regardless of the various interventions to ensure that technical institute graduates are well equipped with the required practical skills for the job/labour market and the campaign about the benefits of technical and vocational education, it has not attracted the youth in the southern Nigerian region to move into technical and vocational training at all because most technical graduates have not been able to enter into employment in their respective fields of training. The poor transition from school to the labour market by graduates has an appreciable amount of technical and vocational education graduates, who are mostly young people, leave to the southern part of the country for menial jobs. This trend of affairs may suggest that technical vocational training programs offered by technical institutes probably fail to develop the skills required for employment within the southern Nigerian region and beyond and this has significantly contributed to the poor socio economic development of Nigeria.