Ministry of Education, World Bank to train 50,000 youths on digital skills


By Mathew Dadiya

The World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Education have said they target to train a minimum of 50,000 youth in Nigeria to empower them with various digital skills through the innovation grants.

The project which is part of the Federal Ministry of Education (FME)/ IDEAS Project in line with the World Bank, will provide hands-on vocational training to help them access suitable jobs and provide post-placement support to assist sustainable employment for those students who opt to enter the labour market.

Speaking with newsmen at the FME/IDEAS Midterm Review Meeting held at the Palms Hotel, on Wednesday in Abuja, Dilip Parajuli, Senior Economist Education Global Practice at the World Bank said in this particular project, the targets are not big but 50,000 beneficiaries.

Mr Parajuli explained that the bank believes that that’s a very small number, given what he just said, adding, “you’re talking about 3.6 million youth coming out every year to the labour market.”

But the bank, he said, “we cannot support everywhere there are big numbers, but what we can support is using this approach, maybe 50,000, maybe 100,000 Or maybe 200, or 300,000.”

The idea, he said, was to complete all components in five years, explaining that the project was approved in early 2020 and the closing date is June 2025.

Normally, World Bank projects are five years and if they’re implemented on time, you achieve the returns, he said.

The challenge, he worried, was delayed by a few years because of delayed approval by the National Assembly, and so because of that, the delays compounded, but the component one, all the work was done by the project.

According to him, in this project, to come to an agreement or to set up a platform so that others can benefit down the line and maybe the bank can come in, other partners can come in because what I know is, the government has a very, very large skill set in the country.

The economist explained that the World Bank was trying to see how they can help the government as they tried to see how the ideas can contribute to this.

“I’m sure there are other projects as well. But this particular project we’re quite excited about and you heard a very lively discussion about how this can be implemented and how the project design could be tweaked for maximum impact.

“So overall, it’s supporting the youth both in school graduates that have just come out of the schools, but also out of school youth who are sort of interested in getting these foundational skills or digital skills or trade specific skills; that’s what this particular project is trying to contribute to.

He said the reason it’s a small scale is because they would like the government to use this as a platform approach, adding, “by platform I mean, an approach that works, through this project, that can be scaled up rapidly and sort of in large numbers across the country.

“So that’s what we’re aiming to do in the next year and a half support the government to come to an understanding find a way approach a modality that is cost effective, that’s scalable, that can be implemented in a manner that you reach many, many kids, many, many youths really need this set of skills,” the World Bank representative said.

Abia State Commissioner for Education, Prof Uche Eme Uche lauded the federal government and the World Bank for the programme to empower the youths with digital skills.

Prof Uche said, in her state, the governor stressed the need to revamp the education sectors, “because we are a new government from another (political) party.”

She noted that over 24 years, education has not been given the attention it required; “So the government declared the education sector an emergency.

So since that time we have had a policy issue, the policy to ensure that education is revamped.”