The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) yesterday, commenced a three-day capacity building for entrepreneurship teachers in Asaba, Delta State.
The Director-General, SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya, in his welcome address, said that the idea behind the capacity building was to catch the pupils and students young, by equipping them with entrepreneurship skills.
Fasanya said SMEDAN, through its flagship programme, “Mind Shift – National School Entrepreneurship Programme (N-SEP) -2022,” aimed to build entrepreneurship skills in the minds of primary school pupils and secondary students through their teachers.
The training programme was organised by SMEDAN, in partnership with the Delta State Government.
Fasanya, represented by the Agency’s South-South Zonal Coordinator, Egbuna Iloba, said the essence of the programme was captured by the adage, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
He said with the World Bank’s prediction of an additional 40 million people joining the economically active group by 2040 in sub-Saharan Africa, it has become imperative for young Nigerians to be supported with education and training that promotes employment generation.
According to him, the programme is designed to enhance the capacity of the teachers who will in turn prepare the pupils and students and convert them into entrepreneurs.
“There is much anxiety and uncertainty among Nigerian students about their future because of the dearth of opportunity in the employment market and their lack of entrepreneurial skills to go into new business ventures.
“Given the number of people entering the unemployment market, it has become imperative for young people to be supported with education and training that promotes employment generation and wealth creation.
“It was on this premise that the Mind Shift Entrepreneurship Programme (MEP) was conceived by SMEDAN.
“The programme is designed to engage the vibrant energy of the students, youths and channel it into productive creation and management of their own businesses.
“The programme provides access to functional and hand-on entrepreneurship and financial literacy and community service education, to every primary and secondary student in Nigeria,” he said.
There is much anxiety and uncertainty among Nigerian students about their future because of the dearth of opportunity in the employment market and their lack of entrepreneurial skills to go into new business ventures.
According Fasanya, the MEP programme is driven through the N-SEP for primary and secondary school and the Tertiary Institutes Entrepreneurship Development Programme (TINEDEP).
“We have gotten the buy-in of the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education and the regulatory authorities have endorsed the programme.
“The objectives of the programme include inculcating the culture of Entrepreneurship into the students of young age, and involving many businesses and community leaders in a programme that positively impacts the lives of youths and the community,” he said.
Fasanya said SMEDAN had carefully designed teachers’ manuals to guide the teachers on how to hand-hold the pupils and students towards their entrepreneurship journey.
He, however, urged the state government to take ownership of the programme and expand it to all the schools in the state.
On her part, State Commissioner for Secondary Education, Mrs Rose Ezewu, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Austin Oghoro, while declaring the programme open, lauded SMEDAN for the capacity building.
She described the programme as the first of its kind, while urging the agency to sustain the commitment of equipping Nigerians with skills for growth and development.
According to Ezewu, the programme is worthy of emulation, the training will enable the state government to chart a new course in shaping the mind-set of pupils and students in areas of business development and wealth creation.
“The teachers for this training have been specially selected to be at the vanguard of this programme, and I wish to enjoin you to effectively utilise the skills learnt to improve the education sector and develop the school children in the state,” she said.
While tasking the participants on the training, Ezewu expressed confidence that the outcome of the training would be beneficial to the teachers, pupils, students and the state at large.
In his remarks, SMEDAN State Manager, Leke Babalola, urged the teachers to be committed to the training, adding that it would be a win-win for all at the end. (NAN)