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Ezekwesili decries rate of unemployment

Former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili

Former Minister of Education, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has decried the high rate of employment in the country.

She said this via her postings on Twitter on Saturday.

This came after several pictures surfaced online, which showed millions of job seekers waiting to sit the NIS recruitment test in different venues across the country.

Ezekwesili tweeted, “We have a grave problem on our hands. As Minister of Education between June 2006 and April 2007, I had (the) responsibility tackling the employability pillar. We did try.”

She also made reference to the Vocational Enterprise Institutions and Innovation Enterprise Institutions, which were proposed by the Federal Ministry of Education and approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide young Nigerians alternative routes to higher education.

According to the website of the National Board for Technical Education, the VEIs and IEIs “are private institutions that will offer vocational, technical, technology or professional education and training at post-basic and tertiary levels to equip secondary school leavers and working adults with vocational skills and knowledge to meet the increasing demand for technical manpower by the various sectors of the nation’s economy.”

Ezekwesili noted that during her time, graduates of VEIs and IEIs were awarded National Vocational Certificate and National Innovation Diploma, respectively.

“Our team fully delivered on the VEI and IEI as a new National Certification awarded by the NBTE,” she tweeted.

However, she decried that the initiative had been abandoned.

In 2013, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,  said the country’s high rate of unemployment was giving her sleepless nights.

According to a survey by the National Bureau of Statistics, 54 per cent of Nigerian youths were unemployed in 2012, with the population of youths aged between 15 and 35 years in Nigeria estimated to be 64 million.

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