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This research study examined the factors hindering effective teaching of vocational courses in Nigerian universities. The work aims at identifying the constraints to the effective teaching of vocational education programme in Nigerian higher institutions. It also aimed at ascertaining the availability and use of teaching aids in teaching and learning of vocational/technical courses in the Nigerian universities. In the course of achieving the objectives of the study, a questionnaire was designed and administered on students of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. The Likert scale response type questionnaire comprises of 20 items. And they were scored as follows: Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree and Strongly Disagreed. The research findings showed that there is a poor attitudinal disposition to vocational courses in Nigerian universities; the study also found that there is a dearth of infrastructures in the Nigerian universities. This situation coupled with the luke warm attitude of government towards the educational sector is affecting the growth of vocational courses in the Nigerian universities.  And as such the researchers made the following recommendations:

1.      There is need also for these governmental agencies to organize workshops from time to time to keep instructors abreast of the new approaches to teaching some vocational education topics.

2.      Curriculum planners should constantly review the contents of the VTE to see whether there are some topics that need be deleted.

3.      There is need for equipping the universities with audio visual and other teaching aids to aid teachers’ efforts in teaching vocational courses and to foster understanding among students.  And lecturers should be encouraged by paying them relevant allowances as at when due.





1.1      Background of the Study

Exactly a decade ago, there was a deliberate attempt to draw the attention of the education community to crisis in Nigerian educational system. The Nigerian Academy of Education devoted its 10th Annual Congress held at the International Conference Center in Abuja to examine this problem (Badmus 1995). In the same year a former secretary to the Minister of Education published his book titled “Crisis and Problems in Education in Nigeria” (Nwabueze, 1995). Since then some government parastatals and NGOs have mounted workshops on this issue. (Badmus, 2000). A leading educationist, former Secretary General and former President of Nigerian Academy, Ukeje (1995) submitted that we are all involved because we are in an age of paradoxes: an age in which our society has been terribly corrupted and contaminated, an age in which mediocrity has triumphed over meritocracy, an age where the wrong can be strong, an age in which indiscipline seems to be glorified and discipline deprecated; an age in which the rich get richer, while poorer gets poorer; an age in which there are inequalities and inequities. He concluded that it should not be’ surprising if crises in vocational educational system become the norm in such an age (Ukeje, 1995). Since then the Nigerian education system has been referred to as “the Folklore Golden Hen in Action, but the hen and eggs are no longer golden but brown” (Ajayi, 2000).

According to Ajibade (1999), certainly, there is a need to confront challenges posed by crisis in Nigerian education system in general and the crisis in universities in particular. There is a growing interest in and awareness of the role and relevance of vocational courses in the higher institutions, particularly as it enhances creativity and innovation in the society. It is recognized that Nigeria needs to strengthen its capacity of creativity and innovation to be able to respond effectively to the development of the knowledge of the students (EC, 2008b) and to become more competitive in economic and social terms (Jeffery, 2006). In March 2000, The European Council set for Europe a strategic goal for the next decade: “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge – based economy in the world”. To achieve this ambitious goal, which is part of the Lisbon Strategy, Heads of state and Government asked for a transformation of the European economy, and for the modernization of social welfare and education systems. The Lisbon Strategy, a programme focusing on growth and jobs for European competitiveness, underlines the fact that knowledge and innovation are the EU’s most valuable assets.

When launching the renewed Lisbon objectives, the 2006 Spring European council called for a broad – based innovation strategy for Europe reiterating the commitment to spend more on vocational courses. It identified education and training as one of the critical factors for a more innovation – friendly Europe. Knowledge and innovation are seen as the beating heart of European growth. In spring 2008, the European Council stated that European citizens’ potential for creativity and innovation is essential for future growth. In its conclusions, members’ states and Commission were requested to develop evidence – based education policy relating to creative and innovation skills; to support research on the promotion of those skills; and to foster creativity and innovation at all levels of education. In addition, the European Parliament gave its support, in September 2008, to the Commission proposal to designate 2009 as the “European Year of Creativity and Innovation.” This European Year aims to raise public awareness, spread information and promote public debate on vocational courses with emphasis on creativity and the capacity for innovation. It also aims to stimulate research into how to develop creative and innovation attitudes and entrepreneurship for personal and professional development in the higher institution. The Council of Europe emphasizes on the importance of creativity, knowledge, flexibility and innovation in a time of rapid technological change as they enhance citizens’ well – being and provide careers opportunities of the students.

Vocational courses have been at the centre of the African Europe agenda for a long time, and it is one of the three key policy areas for the revised Lisbon strategy (EC, 2005). Creativity, a relatively new concept for EU policy – making has been recognized as the “infinite source of innovation” (EC, 2008c), and therefore indispensable for an innovation shift. Innovation is perceived as the major input for long – term economic growth (EC, 2008c) and for the market to thrive (Aho, 2006). Vocational courses foster creativity and this is a skill which enables individuals to find new solutions, to see things in a different perspective and to generate and evaluate new ideas. Such innovative and creative capacity can only be harnessed to full advantage if it is widely disseminated throughout the European population (EC, 2008a); especially in times of economic crisis, skills need to be improved in order to enhance employability and, as a consequence economic growth. Transversal skills, such as problem – solving, self – management or analytical skills are the backbones of new skills for new jobs (Victor, D.E, 2008d). Political, business and social leaders will therefore have to commit by creating an innovative Europe as there is urgent need for a paradigm change (Aho, 2006). The provision of new basic skills has been identified as a priority from pre – socialization era to post – retirement era (Jeffery, A.J. 2006).

The European Commission (EC, 2008c) links vocational courses sees them as essential skills to be developed in the context of lifelong learning. Creativity concerns all fields of human activity and it can be developed at all levels of education. Creativity in turn spurs innovative and entrepreneurial courses. In the same background paper on lifelong learning for creativity and innovation, the European Commission (2008c) maintains that education and training are necessary for future innovation, but at the same time innovation is needed to improve education and training. In order to achieve this, learner – centred pedagogies and lecturers’ empowerment and support are seen as key enabling factors for innovative institutions to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The study also recognizes the potential that ICT have for fostering change. The Nigerian Governments presently are taking part in the debate about Education and Training (vocational educational) to meet the challenges of the 21st century, though member states are tackling the issue in different ways (Jeffery, 2006). To explore these themes, the Federal government has launched a study in collaboration with NUC on the role of creativity and innovation in compulsory education. The study aims to review if and how the various states are implementing creativity and innovation in their educational policies, to what extent are they supporting them and whether practices reflect these policy priorities. In universities education in particular. Four maladjustments known to set off crisis in part or the entire educational system are:

1. The gap between educational demand and supply;

2      . The anachrotic provision for staffing and managing educational system.

3      . The misfit between the content of education and the real educational needs of students and society; and

4      . The menacing gap between educational resource requirement and resource available (Coombs, 1968: 19).

It is in the light of these that this study intends to explore on the factors affecting the effective teaching of vocational courses in Nigerian universities

1.2      Statement of the Problem

For Nigeria to excel technologically there is the need for the effective teaching of vocational education program in the higher institutions. In spite of the importance of vocational education to the development of both students and the society at large, there is no much emphasis placed on the effective management of vocational education programs in Nigeria. The frequent occurrence of low students’ participation in vocational educational courses has been a great concern to all well meaning students, institutions and industries. It is in the light of the above, that the present study was carried out to ascertain if there are factors responsible for the ineffective teaching of vocational education in the higher institutions. There as a general thinking by the public and students alike that vocational education is meant for dull and never do well students academically (Afe, 1993 and Oke 2007).

The Government and most Nigerians are lovers and crazy about paper qualifications. They love white – collar jobs and hate to work with their hands. Fafunwa (1991) tried to assure the public that vocational education do not imply that the students would become carpenters and masons but that it would develop in them that zeal for vocational activities which is most likely to encourage inventiveness, invocation and perseverance in its beneficiaries. Consequently, funds are needed to procure the required instructional materials, equipment and provision of the necessary facilities. In cases when funds are made available, it is either embezzled or misappropriated. According to a former Minister of state in Education, Batagarawa (2001), the low pace of vocational education in Nigeria is due to the fact that it is expensive develop and sustain partly because of its high resources requirement. Closely related to the above problem, is the unhealthy perception or discrimination against vocational graduates. This discrimination is virtually visible amongst graduates of vocational institutions and university graduates. Up till now, the former is being managed by National Board for Technical Education while the latter is under the supervision of National Universities Commission. Nigeria is in dare need of economic, political and technological and vocational advancement. And there is no gain saying that no nation can rise above the quality of her lecturers, the chief propagator of any form of education Bello (2004) unequivocally pointed it out that “a lot of measurers are put in place by the various governments to improve the standard of vocational education in general, but problem still lies in the provision of qualified lecturers.” It is obvious that the quality of the graduates of vocational is largely dependent on the quality of their lecturers. The vocational lecturer is expected to have a sound knowledge of his course (a master of his course) and must have a good experience in the word of work for which he is preparing his students.


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