NBTE introduces mandatory skill qualifications in polytechnics

In keeping with worldwide trends, skill acquisition is now important to the training of young Nigerian polytechnic students.

As a result, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has implemented the Mandatory Skills Qualification (MSQ) as a graduation requirement for all newly reviewed National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) curricula. 

According to the board’s Head of Media, Hajiya Fatimah Abubakar, diploma holders will receive a National Skills Qualification (NSQ) or equivalent as an additional certification. This means that all diploma programmes now require the NSQ, which must be completed prior to graduation.

 NBTE stated: “This dual certification is expected to significantly enhance employability. However, NBTE is aware of the limited skills training facilities in our polytechnics and is therefore allowing a phased introduction.

 “The guideline provides polytechnic administrators with methods for implementing the new provision. Quality assurance is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness and relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs. Assessors play a vital role in this process, evaluating the quality of education and training provided in various technical and vocational fields.

“Their role includes assessing standards, learning outcomes, and the overall performance of Skills Development Centres (SDCs) in polytechnics and other TVET institutions. Under the MSQ, HND level students who have acquired NSQ at the ND level can enrol in Quality Assurance Assessor (QAA) training as an alternative to another NSQ. The QAA certificate will be valuable in the workplace, as many industries require on-the-job training.”

The board stated that Nigeria’s technical manpower situation is characterised by a number of challenges, including skill shortages, a mismatch between industry needs and training, and a lack of collaboration among industry, government agencies, and TVET institutions.

According to the statement, the National Skills Qualification (NSQ) is a certification system that assesses and recognises individuals’ skills and competencies across many sectors. It focuses on vocational skills, which are often obtained through vocational training programmes, apprenticeships, and examinations conducted by certified skill assessment bodies. According to the NBTE, NSQ aspires to bridge the gap between formal education and industry needs by providing individuals with job-market-relevant skills.

The board noted that the dual certification of receiving both an NSQ and a National Diploma (ND) in Nigeria offers several benefits, including a comprehensive skill set, increased employability, versatility, professional recognition, and career progression.

NBTE said the dual certification opens doors to career advancement opportunities, providing a strong foundation for upward mobility and career growth. Overall, dual certification offers a competitive edge in the job market, enhances career prospects, and equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their chosen fields.