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    NBTE Introduces Mandatory Skills Qualification for Polytechnic Students

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    By Milcah Tanimu

    The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has introduced a new requirement for polytechnic students in Nigeria: the Mandatory Skills Qualification (MSQ). This requirement applies to all newly reviewed National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) curricula, aligning with global trends that emphasize skill acquisition as a core part of technical education.

    Fatimah Abubakar, NBTE’s Head of Media, announced on Monday that diploma holders will now graduate with both a National Skills Qualification (NSQ) or its equivalent and their traditional diploma. This dual certification aims to improve the employability and versatility of graduates by equipping them with practical skills relevant to the job market.

    The NSQ certification system assesses and recognizes skills and competencies in various vocational fields. It focuses on vocational skills obtained through training programs, apprenticeships, and assessments by approved skill assessment bodies. The dual certification is expected to provide graduates with a comprehensive skill set, making them more attractive to employers and offering better career progression opportunities.

    Given the current limitations in skills training facilities within Nigerian polytechnics, NBTE is allowing a phased introduction of the MSQ. Guidelines have been provided to polytechnic administrators to help implement this new provision.

    Assessors will play a vital role in evaluating the quality of education and training in various technical and vocational fields. Their responsibilities will include assessing standards, learning outcomes, and the overall performance of Skills Development Centres (SDCs) in polytechnics and other Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. For HND students who already have an NSQ at the ND level, there is an option to enroll in Quality Assurance Assessor (QAA) training as an alternative to obtaining another NSQ. The QAA certificate is valuable as many industries require on-the-job training, further enhancing the employability of graduates.

    Abubakar also noted that Nigeria faces several challenges in its technical manpower situation, including skill shortages and a mismatch between industry needs and training. The introduction of the MSQ aims to address these issues and improve the overall quality and relevance of technical education in Nigeria.

    In related developments, NBTE recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) to abolish the training of pharmaceutical technologists and initiated the development of curricula in environmental health and family health care technology. These efforts are part of NBTE’s broader strategy to enhance the quality and relevance of technical education in the country.

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