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Education

NBTE introduces mandatory skills qualification for Nigerian polytechnic students

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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.

The Board disclosed this in a statement released on Monday by its Head of Media, Fatimah Abubakar, adding that the introduction is in line with global trends, especially as skill acquisition is now central to the training of young Nigerians in polytechnics.

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

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

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The certification system

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

According to her, it focuses on vocational skills and is typically obtained through vocational training programs, 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.

Abubakar further said that the dual certification opens doors to career advancement opportunities as well as provides a strong foundation for upward mobility and career growth. She added that 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.

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“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,” she noted.

Role of assessors

She added that assessors would play a 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 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (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 characterized 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.

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