By Franca Ofili
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Sen. Sam Egwu has advised that the enrolment of students into the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) should be limited to only those that require industrial training.
Egwu gave the advice in Abuja on Wednesday at the 2017 expanded stakeholders meeting organised by Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
“It is important to point out that a lot of the students who enrolled into SIWES have no business coming into the scheme.
“ ITF and the collaborating agencies should ensure that the scheme is limited to only the students who are studying courses that required industrial training.
“If this is done, the approved budget of N1, 002,148,500 will be relatively sufficient to run the scheme for 2017,’’ he said.
Egwu noted that the scheme had accumulated debt that ran into billions, a situation he described as embarrassing.
He said that the scheme was critical to national development, especially in the area of job creation.
Egwu expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to ensure that the debt profile of the scheme was reduced to barest minimum.
“The scheme is a skills training programme designed to expose and prepare students of universities and other tertiary institutions for the Industrial Work situation they are likely to meet after graduation.’’
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar said the scheme was one of the government’s cardinal programmes meant to instill skills in the undergraduates and engender their experiences.
Represented by Mr Ochapa Ogenyi, the Director, Research and Statistic in the ministry, Abubakar said the scheme’s expectations had not been fully realised due to some challenges.
She commended the management of the fund for finding lasting solution to the challenges that had bedeviled the scheme over the years.
Abubakar said the government was determined to bring about economic recovery and growth by upgrading the educational curriculum through articulated process of developing the young men and women in their fields of endeavours.
She noted that the meeting would guide government to come up with concrete policies that would put to rest the challenges associated with the scheme.
Mr Joseph Ari, Director-General of the fund said the challenges posed in the implementation of the scheme had affected the intentions it was meant to achieve.
Ari listed some of the challenges to include poor funding, astronomical increase in students’ enrolment as a result of continued increased in the number of institutions both public and private.
Others he said are increase in the number of approved courses, limited placement opportunities in industries, late submission of replacement lists from supervisory agencies, and misconceptions about eligibility to payment of the scheme allowance.
He added that the scheme had achieved significant success.
“At inception, the scheme was limited to students of engineering and technology only, today it covers many disciplines because of its relevance to technology and economic development,’’ Ari said. (NAN)