The Kogi Government on Friday said it had concluded plans to organise a two-week summer vocational camp for adolescents to promote and encourage vocational skills in the state.
Concise News reports that Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, disclosed this in Lokoja at the stakeholders meeting she held with Home Economics (HE) teachers across the state.
Osikoya said that the piloting phase of the two-week state summer vocational camp, would commence in Lokoja on August 19, and urged parents to take advantage of the opportunity to enroll their wards.
According to her, the expected participants at the camp will be adolescents, stressing that the best time to teach a child a vocational skill is at the adolescence age.
The commissioner reiterated the need for everyone to start promoting and encouraging vocational skills, especially for adolescents, in order to reduce the high rate of school dropouts and teenage pregnancy.
Osikoya said that Home Economics centres should majorly be for mass literacy, adding that the adolescents, youths, women, nomadics and seasonal farmers should be the users of those centres.
She said that all the HE centres in the state were operating below their normal capacity, stressing that there were breaches of policies in their operations.
She enjoined the participants to go back to their respective communities and ensure effective utilisation of HE centres in schools, to focus on access for students in secondary school and community members.
She added that the ministry was reviewing instructions and activities in schools and HE centres to focus on practical skills.
”We need to sensitise and advocate for vocational skills; every child must be proactive and develop a skill. Everyone must have a skill if we must have a developed country.
”We must do a lot of integration in this sector and home economics centres are to spearhead the integration; we must all agree we can make education very interesting.
”There must be something that you can do with your hand; you must have a skill,” she restated.
The commissioner urged parents to release their wards to partake in the two-week pilot phase of the summer vocational camp scheduled to commence on August 19, in Lokoja.
On her part, Mrs Olabisi Oshagbemi, Director, Inclusive and Non-Formal Education (INFE), urged the participants to go back to their various centres to ensure that the right thing is done.
Some of the participants who spoke at the meeting commended the State Government for the initiative, and expressed their readiness to support the programme.
One of them, Mrs Margaret Ibinaiye, said the meeting was the first of its kind in the state, but advised the ministry to involve community and religious leaders for effective sensitisation.
The programme, tagged: ”State Summer Vocational Camp,” is a sensitisation campaign on vocational education in formal and non-formal institutions.
The skills and trade to be learnt at the camp include: baking, garment making, bag and hat craft.