The New White Collar Job: Skills Not Degrees

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By; AUWAL AHMED IBRAHIM (GORONYO)


Knowledge is power and  power deals with knowledge and practice for students to excel and prosper in their areas of studies and to meet the demands of the nations and their citizens. 
The words of Professor Idris Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) go well with the future development of countries with philosopher Jim Rohn that said,  ‘Don’t bring your need to the marketplace, bring your skill. If you don’t feel well, tell your doctor, but not the marketplace. If you need money, go to the bank, but not the marketplace’ and it is for this reason the most fasting growing economics countries put skill in practice than school certificate. In many developed countries. Skill is the trend notion that most countries are applying to prosper in every set of knowledge but in Africa the story differs and it is for this reason professor Idris Bugaje is aimed to changed the African tarmac of development that skill is what matters to Africa not certificates. 
Professor Idris Bugaje a Nigeria renowned Professor in Chemical Engineering with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria put emphasis on skills in learners than certificates, the knowledge and the induction of skills both make a perfect student and to Professor Bugaje that is the pillar of building a very strong and viable nation and which an under-developing countries and developing countries can attend to the apex of development with this practical logic and notion as stated by August Comte. 
China converted 600 universities to Polytechnics to empower its economy and develop its technological pace. Even before this trend of China conversion Professor Idris Bugaje has been advocating for skill rather than paper evidence of knowledge to measure employment criteria. African nations should overhaul their educational curricula to meet the needs of the world educational standard of the NBTE – Skills Not Degrees.
On the 15 July 2018 the Guardian Newspaper carried a story of Professor Idris Bugaje recalling the Nigerian government to convert some universities to polytechnics to create a good path of improving its economy, science and technology.
In his book,  Skills not Degrees; the New White Collar Job, 2018 Professor Bugaje highlighted that most under – developed and developing countries need skill than certificates for their students and emphasised that skill is the way out for economic development and jobs creation.
Professor Bugaje research proved that the fastest way for wiping insecurity and adoptation of peace is through building students of all schools with knowledge of entrepreneurship to make the learners independents after schools. 
Professor Bugaje gave the example of Europe and Asia as regions that developed with skills and stated that Africa must make changes to its education curricula from the grassroots to meet the Millennium Development Goals of education.
Though in some countries and Nigeria polytechnics are not giving much concern and patronage like universities by students and parents but the two institutions have different missions and regulations. The Modern Ghana on the 5th May,  2014 reported that The main objective of polytechnic education “is the promotion of technical and vocational education and training, technology transfer and skills development to enhance the socio-economic development of the country, universities are established to give much theoretical knowledge in which Professor Idris Bugaje said the universities students are to work in the companies or firms established by polytechnic students as administrators to meet the demands of people but “at the moment we have more universities than polytechnics.
The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education said for skill to satisfy every nation “For every single university, there should be nothing less than five polytechnics so that we can support the engineers”.
Bugaje expatiated that a university “engineer is trained only to do design, to implement the design. But Polytechnic engineers are to do the fabrication, bring it to reality, commission and install it. So, we need more technologist than engineers.” (Pulse Nigeria, 2017)
With all the much opportunities in the polytechnics many African students and government give little attention to polytechnics. In Nigeria there is priority in job selections for university students and Polytechnic students have upper hand than the university students and the wide gap of dichotomy in salary earning should be balanced to promote polytechnic education.
The former Registrar and the Chief Executive Officer of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Dibu Ojeri clarified on the words of Professor Idris Bugaje saying, “For Nigeria to be advanced technologically and scientifically advanced the political will to implement national objectives and plans must be formulated and implemented. Nigeria must get serious with the issue of technology and science-based education because this is where to begin.
The polytechnic education is important because it emphasises practice-based learning and the acquisition of certain life skills. Cognizance should be taken of the policy of the Federal Government as it affects the encouragement given to technical education in Nigeria.”  (The Nation Newspaper, 2015)
Prof. Julius Iyasele,  Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Benin expressed the mandate of universities in Nigeria as a knowledge hub with less skills provision saying “I can say definitely that the universities of technology have not fulfilled their mandate. These universities have not impacted on their immediate environment as they have not been able to deliver on their expected mandates. If they had, I think, Nigeria by now would have been classified as a technologically-advanced country. This boils down to the manpower they are developing and the quality and kind of research works they are doing. This means that the quality of training the institutions give to people is low because the training is not relevant to the current needs of the nation. If we want to check the records, how many inventions in terms of technology have come from these universities of technology? I think we have not really heard much in that regard” while Professor Bugaje has identified some polytechnic students with brightest achievements in his books on skills.  
Professor Bugaje reengineering had redesigning befitting curricular of education to suit Nigeria demand of knowledge and advancement for Nigerian polytechnics and other countries of Africa can demand for that. On his inauguration as the National Board for Technical Education Executive Secretary he said “Our educational curricula must also be re-engineered to focus more on skills acquisition rather than paper qualifications.” Developing Nigeria and any other developing or Under – developing nation requires the need to readjust all the retro-progressive  effects that are not suitable to the needs of the people in the education sector.
For education to meet its demands there are fix and changing modalities to help in developing the nations and the people,  and government of Africa should face the reality to make education good for development in all sectors. Practical knowledge is an inscribe knowledge that never fade in the minds of the learners. Therefore for depending countries to rise they must embrace the virtues of education in promoting health,  science and technological pace. 
At all, Africa and other progressing countries should choose the way out for their development through education, the type of schools to operate and fund the schools for positive results as Professor Idris Bugaje said ” skills is the new white collar job now.
AUWAL AHMED IBRAHIM (GORONYO) writes from Kaduna

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