Background of the Study 

Following the political independence of Nigeria, there was a realization that the type of education our colonial masters left with us needed a critical re-examination of the worth: of content, objectives, relevance, methods, administration, evaluation, and so forth. According to Ezeobata (2007), this period saw a state of affairs in Nigerian education where every subject had to ‘prove its usefulness’ to retain a place in the school curriculum. This was said to have led the then National Educational Research Council (NERC) to convey a historic curriculum conference at Lagos in 1969. This conference recommended new set of goals and provided directions for major curriculum revision upon which the National Policy on Education of 1977 and the revised policy in 1981 and 2004 were based.  Against this background of national aspirations, a new educational system commonly referred to as the 6-3-3-4 system of education emerged. The system consisted of six years of primary school education, three years of junior secondary school (JSS), three years of senior secondary school (SSS), and four years of post-secondary education  (Omotayo, Ihebereme, & Maduewesi, 2008).  The implementation of the 6-3-3-4 education system in Nigeria began in 1982 and brought many reforms into the educational system in Nigeria. Among the innovations is the vocationalization of the secondary school curriculum in Nigeria. At the junior secondary level pre-vocational subjects were introduced into the curriculum while vocational subjects were introduced into the senior secondary level. The focus of the pre- vocational was to expose students at the junior secondary school level to the world of work through exploration. Such exposure would enable junior secondary school students make intelligent career choice. Among the pre-vocational subjects are practical Agriculture, Home Economics, and Business Studies. Introductory Technology is an integration of components of woodwork, metalwork, basic electronics, applied electricity, water flow technology, airflow technology, food preservation, automobile mechanics, technical drawing, physics, rubber technology, chemistry, plastics, basic building technology, and ceramics. While Business Studies has typewriting, shorthand, bookkeeping, office practice, commerce and computer science as components. Fafunwa (2002) stated that the specific objectives of the Junior Secondary School Education are to develop in the students’ Manipulative skills (Manual dexterity) invention, respect for dignity of labour and above all healthy attitude towards things technical. At the senior secondary level, recommended vocational /technical subjects include: Agricultural Science, Clothing and Textile, Home Management, Food and Nutrition, Typewriting & Shorthand, Principles of Accounts, Commerce, Woodwork, Technical Drawing, Basic Electronics, Building Construction, Applied Electricity and Auto Mechanics.  The most significant aspect of the National Policy on Education as noted by Dike (2009) is the new focus it gives to Nigerian educational system, the need for the Industrialization of the nation in which technical and vocational education play crucial roles and the realization to change from white collar job oriented educational system to science, vocational and technical oriented educational system which prepares individuals to be self-reliant and useful to the society. This is said to have informed the Federal Government to lay emphases on technical education. Dike (2009) further noted that the five National goals cannot be realized without developing technical /vocational education, a well-rooted technical education that will definitely transform the economic, social and political life-styles of our Nation from the third world to be the first would class. Uyanya (1989) stated that the most important thing that ever happened to Nigeria is the 1981 National Policy on Education, which emphasizes the acquisition of vocational skill and self-reliance. Puyate (2004) quoted Sower (1971) who observed that vocational/technical education is a means towards industrialization of Nigeria. Olaitan (2007) defines vocational/technical education as that aspect of education which is a skill acquisition-oriented form of training, Offorma (2005) lamented the growing dependence of our youth on white-collar jobs which are difficult to come by these days. Job employers, according to Offorma, do not emphasize certificates but what one can do and urged youth to seek self-reliance through self- employment.  Vocational-technical education is that aspect of education that gives its recipients an opportunity to acquire practical skills as well as some basic scientific knowledge (Nigerian National Policy on education, (1981). Oni (2007) quoted Puding (1994) who defined vocational-technical education as that type of education, which fits the individual for gainful employment in recognized occupation as semi-skilled workers or technicians or sub-professionals. Vocational education could be regarded as that aspect of education, which provides the recipients with the basic knowledge and practical skills needed for entry into the world of work as employees or as self-employed (Oni 2007). Vocational education nurtures skills that are necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development and thus builds a self-reliant nation. Two of the aims of vocational-technical education as stated in the Nigerian National Policy on Education (1981: 28) are: “to give training and impart the necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising and self- reliant, and to enable Nigerian young men and women to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology”. The above aims were stated about three decades ago. Today, according to Oni (2007), the nation still lacks quality vocation-technical education programmes in technical institutions. He however suggested the need to establish good vocational and technical institutions to provide the required training and impart the necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising and self-reliant.

Statement of Problem

A good number of students who have completed their secondary education but do not wish to continue with higher education are in dilemma. This is because they are not well equipped with necessary skills to empower themselves. The training acquired at the end of secondary education seems inadequate to make the school leavers competent and self-reliant, hence cannot contribute to nation building. If the Nigerian society is not to be plagued by a breed of unemployable youth who cannot raise the economic productivity of the country, it is desirable that a lasting solution be provided. Thus, this study was designed to fill this gap.

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Updated: 26th April 2018 — 2:57 pm