The Alternative to Traditional College Degree Programs: Implications for a Sustainable Workforce in the Federal Republic of Nigeria



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Background: Albeit public elementary and middle school education is free and compulsory in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at least over 10 million of the country’s children within ages 5-14 years are not attending school, because of the associated costs, which render access prohibitive. Of the children who do complete middle school education, only a few are able to transition onto secondary and tertiary institutions to further their college or career goals. The absence of a robust infrastructure to support a thriving economy means the students fortunate enough to have completed a university degree are not necessarily guaranteed employment upon graduation. With several graduates clamoring for limited job vacancies, supply far outstrips demand and individuals with degrees and certifications in technical and vocational skills are further disadvantaged as these qualifications are thought to be menial. Purpose: This study sought to analyze Career Technical Education (CTE) / Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) policies and applications in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States of America. It was anticipated that in revealing the similarities and differences, areas of growth in the CTE/TVET educational sector could be identified for one or both countries. Therefore, this research focused on identifying the requirements and outcomes for CTE/TVET in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States to analyze these variables. In addition, the research also explored the similarities and differences of CTE/TVET applications in the United States, and to what extent can what has been learned about the United States be applied in Nigeria? Method: A descriptive qualitative comparative analysis of the CTE/TVET policies and application was done to establish the similarities and differences between both countries. The analysis encompasses a review of federal standards relative to CTE/TVET regulatory regimes and funding protocol. Results: Review of data indicated that both countries consistently reported lower student enrollment rates in CTE/TVET programs both at the secondary and tertiary levels. It was also observed that the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not have any Labor Market Information (LMI) reporting system to determine skills needs that will inform the academic institutions on CTE/TVET programs to implement. Although the United States possesses a national LMI tool, states prefer to create and manage their own LMI tools. Funding for CTE/TVET programs is accounted for under Perkins in the United States, whereas in the Federal Republic of Nigeria funding is only allocated to the support of regulatory bodies. Conclusion: Owing to the possibility that Africa will account for more than half of the world’s population growth with Nigeria making a fifth of this number by 2050, it is necessary to implement infrastructural and intellectual support that promotes job creation and security for students graduating from secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Hence proposing the application of CTE)/TVE as a viable propellant for a plethora of jobs that will most likely influence standards of living and the economy requires a thorough understanding of the requirements and outcomes of functional CTE/TVET programs and processes.



Keywords: Career and technical education (CTE), Curricula, Formal and Informal Education, Labor market information (LMI), Protectorate, Technical and vocational education training (TVET), Vocational education, Workforce,