The Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme, (SIWES), is a scheme under the Industrial Training Fund, ITF. The scheme was created with the aim of providing work experience to students in order to prepare them from real life working experience.
Students who actively participate in the scheme are engineering, technical and other allied disciplines. The ITF administers the scheme on behalf of the Federal Government. However, the scheme faces many challenges which affects the efficiency of the SIWES.
Firstly, the major issues here is payment of students who are actively participating in the scheme. During the initiation of the scheme, there were few students, but today, the number have grown significantly and this gas been an issue because ITF are finding it difficult to pay all the student that participated during the scheme. Students have been complaining of delay in their allowances and even some students don’t even receive any allowance at all after they must have been done with their SIWES programme which is either 4 months for polytechnics or 6 months for universities. According to the director general of the Industrial Training Fund, Mr. Joseph Ari, during an interview with Nigerian Tribune said that ” last year, the budget for SIWES was N1.5 billion but what was paid into the coffers of ITF was N700 million; so you can see the shortfall.”
Another problem is the issue of logistics. Students who far away from the school vicinity most if the time do not receive I.T supervisors upon the first, second and third visits. This is because most of the I.T supervisors who are engage in I.T find it difficult to transport themselves to the students places of primary assignment for inspection.
Also, most students complain that the N10,000 that they are being paid for the duration of thier I.T is not up to the amount they are spending on transport.
Also, another issue I.T students are facing is where to do their SIWES training. Most I.T students find it difficult to get companies or government establishment to accept them for SIWES training. Some students who face this dilemma end up not participating in the training and as result fail to acquire working experience. It also affects the student’s grade as he will be penalized by the school for not participating in the training.
Meanwhile, I don’t know the reason why those who study administrative courses cannot pertake in the scheme. A student of business administration,Accounting or Marketing, can also be allowed to have working experience during the training. But for many years now it has only been those who are studying technical courses that are allowed to participate. I would have loved it if those studying business courses are included in the scheme as this will give them the much needed experience they will need on how a business environment function in the real world.
The Nigerian Government and the Ministry of Education, should invest more in the scheme so as to have skilled and employable graduates. It a scheme that need further improvement. Employers of labour have complained that most Nigerian graduates are unemployable. So this scheme should be seen as an opportunity to correct such anomaly.
The Industrial Training Fund should themselves place students in companies or government establishment where they will be properly trained and not establishment where they will be redundant and will end up learning nothing.
Finally, ITF should make arrangement for students accommodation. This should be done for students who are doing their training far away from their comfort zone.
Also they need to review the N10,000 naira I.T students are being paid by increasing their allowance in order to better cover the cost of transportation and feeding.