Some stakeholders in the maritime industry have implored teachers to take advantage of the benefits inherent in the blue economy and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).
They made the call at a one-day free seminar tagged, “Overview of Blue Economy and AFCFTA, Advantages for Teachers” which was held in Lagos.
The experts said that learning about the blue economy could also provide opportunities for side businesses, apart from teaching.
The event organised by Ocean Ambassadors Foundation (OAF) was in commemoration of International Year of Education.
Dr Yinka Ayandele, former Permanent Secretary/Tutor General, Lagos State Ministry of Education, District 111, said that learning about the blue economy could give teachers their another source of living, particularly when they longer teach or no more in active service.
“We should be partakers of this space and so we need to decide where we want to key in and do the needful,” she said.
Mrs Julie Saka, Chief Operations Officer, Nigerian Shippers’Councill (NSC), said the continent needs human capital with better 21st century skills to achieve its goals.
She added that investing in better trained human capital e.g technical vocational education and skills development was critical to the success of AFCFTA.
“It is therefore important that the education sector plans should include economics and entrepreneurship components focused on the appropriate skills needed by enterprises,” she said.
Saka, while speaking on “AFCFTA – Opportunities for Teachers”, urged teachers to form union in West and Central Africa or Union of Teachers in Africa to help them look at the possibility of having unified teaching techniques.
Mrs Funmi Shelika, President AWFishnet Nigeria, advised teachers to know what interest them, research on it, discuss and get a mentor in the line.
Shelika, who spoke on entrepreneurial opportunities in fisheries and aquaculture resources, said that some policies in the country were not helping the fisheries and aquaculture space.
She, therefore, urged the government to look into such policies
Also, Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said opportunities in the blue economy were enormous.
Jamoh highlighted some of the opportunities to include; aquaculture, offshore energy, tourism, fisheries, ship building, seafaring, ship repair and maintenance services, among others.
The director-general, represented by the Director of Internal Audit at NIMASA, Mrs Olamide Odusanya, observed that one of the major threats in the sector was piracy.
He however, noted that tge piracy had been reduced to the barest minimum since the launch of the Deep Blue Project by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2021.
The NIMASA boss encouraged teachers to stimulate young students’ interest in shipping and other ancillary services like insurance, maritime law, freight forwarding, among others.
Speaking on the benefits of the AfCFTA which opens the entire regional market, he opined that blue economy had similar objectives by expanding the ocean market and opportunities.
Dr Emmanuel Audu, Director, Lagos State Agricultural Training Institute, noted that many business opportunities in aquaculture abound for teachers to tap into, listing some as production of fingerlings, table-size fish, fish processing and others.
He noted that unfortunately the blue economy and the natural resources were being polluted and this leading to disasters.
“There is need to take radical steps to bring in more people into the value chain, and we should be conscious of the effect of our activities on the natural resources,” he said.
In his contribution, Mr Tarzan Balogun, Chairman, Tarzan Boats, encouraged the teachers on boat cruise on excursion for their students and assured them of the availability of his boat for the exercise.
Earlier, Mrs Violet Williams, President, OAF, noted that there should be a grassroot approach where the teachers would adopt the AFCFTA network.
William said that the common saying that “teachers rewards is in heaven” should not be accepted.
“That is why we have people to teach you about the business plan for blue economy and AFCFTA. There is untapped opportunities there, a non-conventional opportunities for them to explore,” she said.
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