THE Director General of Industrial Training Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, has made case for increased funding of the Nigerian Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), in view of its importance in preparing the Nigerian students for the world work.
He particularly appealed to stakeholders to contribute their quota in ensuring sustainability of the scheme.
Ari said the scheme had impacted positively on Nigerian undergraduate students since its establishment in 1973.
Ari, who spoke at the 13th SIWES Biennial conference in Abuja, decried the skill gaps in the country because of inadequate attention being paid towards ensuring that Nigerians acquired the right skill through internship.
He said: “My management realised that as laudable as the SIWES scheme is to the overall development of our educational sector as well as the positive impartation of requisite skills among the nation’s undergraduates, there are challenges hindering the full realisation of its objectives.
“These challenges have given rise to a yawning gap in addressing the disconnect between theory and practice in our educational curriculum.
“Over the years, the relevance of the framework for the SIWES has been diminished by a myriad of challenges. Not much has been achieved with regards to funding, therefore,this conference is expected to address funding challenges and also resolve the issue of geometric increase in the number of courses and students involved in the Scheme,” he noted.
The DG, however, said that in spite of these seeming challenges faced by SIWES, has helped to provide platform for many Nigerian undergraduates from tertiary institutions acquire lifelong experience in the world of work.
He noted that the scheme has succeeded in establishing a closer collaboration between institutions and industries, a factor which was essential for preparing young people for the world of work.
He also expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to sustain the Scheme.