Kaduna State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), for the entrepreneurial empowerment and skills development of indigenous youths of the state.
The pact, signed in collaboration with the Housing Developers Institute (HDI), and the World Bank, will see the youths trained by the Centre for Educational Technology and Entrepreneurial Development (CETED) of NOUN, and absorbed by HDI at graduation. The HDI will, thereafter, screen the students for admission into CETED, while the World Bank will provide workshop materials for the training.
The vision of the state government along this direction is to get hold of, and train idle youths at NOUN, get them absorbed by the HDI, which is constructing 1, 000 affordable housing units in the state.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony at the Government House, Kaduna recently, Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, said that the signing of the MoU was significant in the sense that there were “thousands of youth who left school and have not gained any paid employment. By this scheme, NOUN is going to take them 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 1,000 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, who informed that Entrepreneurial Studies was presently NOUN’s most subscribed programme, with a student population of over 30,000, harped on the importance of skills acquisition to the nation, especially in the present phase of its socio-economic life, noting that “self-reliance and self-employment is the way to go in this dispensation,” he said.
Adamu requested the state government to expand the programme to accommodate women, especially full-time housewives, so that they may also be economically empowered.
He stated that NOUN as an institution remains passionate about women empowerment, and that explains “why 60 per cent of management personnel in the university are women, while 46 per cent of the entire work force are women.”
In his response, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), 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 just as he opined that the governor would be favourably disposed to extending the empowerment scheme to women.
In a related development, Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has directed communities in the state to open more NOUN study centres to ensure that residents of the state benefit from services offered by the institution.
Ugwuanyi who gave the directive while playing host to Adamu and his team underlined the strategic importance of the university to the development of the country, saying, “As the pioneer open and distance learning institution in Nigeria, NOUN has played a very important role in the development of the country. It affords citizens, especially the youths, the opportunity to earn a living and pursue their education simultaneously,” he said.
The governor said that the visit of the vice chancellor had afforded the state government the opportunity to explore areas where the state can partner with the school can work together for the common good of the people.
Adamu in his remarks urged the governor to empower the study centres with vehicles, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and land for the permanent sites of the study centres.