The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clem Agba, has advocated for the inclusion of compulsory community service in secondary and tertiary education curricula in the country, to encourage a culture of volunteerism.
Agba, who stated this in Benin, at the 5th and 6th Graduation and 6th Matriculation ceremonies, respectively, as well as the 9th-anniversary ceremony of the Centre for Edo Delta Development Initiative (CEDDI), argued that inclusion of such service in school curricula would encourage charitable and volunteer work.
Represented by his Special Assistant, Dr Philip Ugbodaga, the minister commended the CEDDI for its enlightenment programmes on diabetics, saying that the activities of the centre and other similar initiatives, were capable of accelerating the government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.
“There is the further need for more collaboration between the government and all NGOs operating in Nigeria, so as to organise our people, create awareness in them and make them development-oriented and problem solvers.
“Because of the complementary roles, community service and volunteerism play in national development, it should be possible for our students to complete a certain number of hours in community service, before graduation from secondary school or at the tertiary level.
“These activities must be an integral part of our culture and should be included in the educational curriculums, at all levels of education in Nigeria”, the minister said.
Also, speaking at the occasion, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo, and Chairman of the occasion, Mr Kenneth Imansuagbon, bemoaned the unemployment level in the country as worrisome.
“Therefore, any initiative to keep our people off the streets should ordinarily be supported by all well-meaning individuals.
“I am informed that CEDDI Skills Acquisition Centre & Diabetic Care Clinic started as an itinerant concept, where healthcare and vocational skills, such as Cosmetology, Catering, Beauty care, are brought to the doorstep of the people, who are among the not-so-privileged,” he said.
He urged all stakeholders to take a cue from the state governor, in ensuring that the youths were engaged in productive ventures by providing them vocational centres to impart skills in the state.
On his part, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Marcus Onobun, assured that the legislature would always be supportive of the programme whenever the need arose.
In his address of welcome, the initiator of the programme, Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin kingdom, urged the graduates to always keep the flag flying by ensuring that they put to good use all that they learnt during the training.