The government of Kaduna State has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) for the development of skill acquisition and entrepreneurial empowerment in the state.
The pact, signed in collaboration with the Housing Developers Institute (HDI) and the World Bank, will see indigenous youth of the state trained by the Centre for Educational Technology and Entrepreneurial Development (CETED) of NOUN and absorbed at graduation by Housing Developers Institute, who will also screen the students for admission at CETED, while World Bank will provide workshop materials for the training.
The vision of the state government is to remove idle youths from the street, get them trained at NOUN and absorbed by the HDI, which has a monumental project to construct 1,000 affordable housing units in the state.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony held at the Government House, Kaduna, on Tuesday, the Vice-chancellor of NOUN, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, disclosed that the vision and mission of the university centred on providing access for affordable and quality education for Nigerians.
He said: “The signing of this MoU today is significant in that there are thousands of youth who left school and have not gained any paid employment. By this scheme, NOUN is going to clear thousands of such youths in Kaduna State off the streets, train them on Housing Technology skills and get them absorbed by our partners in the housing industry who are handling the construction of about 1000 housing units which Kaduna State government is about to embark upon. This, therefore, translates to providing thousands of employment opportunities to the youth of Kaduna State.”
Adamu added that skill acquisition empowerment is very important, not only to NOUN as a university, but also to the nation in the present phase of its socio-economic life.
He revealed that NOUN’s most subscribed programme at the moment was Entrepreneurial Studies, which has a student population of over 30,000. “Self-reliance and self-employment is the way to go in this dispensation,” he said.
He requested the state government to expand the programme to accommodate women, especially full-time housewives, so that they may also be economically empowered.
He added that NOUN as an institution is passionate about women empowerment. “That is why 60% of management personnel in the university are women, while 46% of the entire work force are women.”
In his response, the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Balarabe Abbas Lawal, said the state government was passionate about youth empowerment, hence the signing of the MoU, adding that the scheme would open numerous avenues for gainful employment for the youths in the state.
Lawal promised to follow the agreement in the MoU to the letter, while pledging to tender the request of the vice chancellor to the governor with optimism that the governor would give a positive thought about extending the empowerment scheme to women.
“We know that women are the first teachers. When they are empowered, they easily transfer that empowerment to their children,” he said.
Earlier on, the chairman of Housing Developers Institute, Mr. E. Afolayan Olabode, had expressed delight and readiness to work with the government of Kaduna State in its bid to impact the lives of the youths positively.
“For us, coming with this skill acquisition scheme is giving back to society. Not until we get the youth skilled, we will not deliver on the project we are embarking upon,” he said.