By Mathew Dadiya
The World Bank said it’s working in synergy with the Federal Government under the Ministry of Education to empower 200,000 youths under its ongoing Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS) Projects.
The IDEAS Project which is a 5 year project aims to improve skills acquisition in Nigeria using a comprehensive approach and addressing key aspects of the skills development delivery system.
World Bank Economist and the Task Team Leader of the program, Dilip Parajuli, who stated during a workshop at the weekend in Abuja, said despite the challenges, the Bank is on course to achieve its objectives.
“The class of youths we target is a large number, about ten million youths are not in school, and also unemployed.
“So those are the ones we target. We will start with a small number – maybe 200,00 which is not a big number if you think about it.
“But the point is, it will be the last pilot to show proof of evidence that it can work and that’s why there’s been a few thousand selected.
“It’s important for the project to be implemented really soon and get the results soon so that the federal government, states and other partners will come in to help scale it up to millions of youths,” the World Bank Economist said.
Parajuli, who is an economist with the Bank, said the counterpart funding by the government would determine whether the number of youth to be trained would be scaled up to 500,000.
“There is no reason why it can’t be scaled up sooner than later. The faster the implementation goes, the better the quality of implementation.
“This may be scaled up to 500,000 youths or even a million, depending on the resources the government can mobilize,” he said.
On her part, Director, Technology and Science Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Muyibat Olodo said the government is committed to ensuring youth acquire skills that would make them employable.
Olodo, who represented the minister of education, noted that the commitment and passion that the President has for the youths, especially in the area of skill acquisition is the driving force for the project.
“The Federal Ministry of Education, the honorable Minister and the honorable Minister of State are already committed to delivering the agenda, especially the mandates of the Federal Ministry of Education in this regard.
“So many things have been committed, efforts are ongoing as you have seen, to ensure that many of our youths are captured when it comes to skill acquisition,” she said.
National Coordinator of IDEAS Project Mrs Blessing Ogwu, said though the IDEAS project was approved in 2020 but didn’t start until 2022.
The National Coordinator attributed the delay in the implementation to delayed disbursement of the funds.
She said, “The approval from the National Assembly came in December 2021, and the funds came in September 2022 when the colleges started getting their initial disbursement.”
On the project achieving its objectives, the National Coordinator said, “well, for the target yes. Again, the colleges at the state level were not well trained.
“When you give a person an assignment without equipping the person properly, there may be a little challenge. Those were the things that affected the slowness of the project.
“That is why we are looking at restructuring it, trying to get what is right. Maybe restructuring the project so that we can get the best out of the State and federal level.”