Reverse side of the proposed poly upgrade
With the growing quest to improve status among Nigerian polytechnics, the Director of Polytechnic Education and Related Institutions at the Federal Ministry of Education, Adeleye Adeoye, has expressed fear of straying from her tenure. He explained why becoming a university might not be in their best interests. Uchechukwu Nnaike writes
The quest for Nigerian polytechnics to improve their status has intensified in recent times. Some of them await the president’s approval to achieve the goal, after completing the necessary legislative process.
To allay public fears that polytechnics will abandon their core mandate once modernized, the rector of the Yaba College of Technology once said that they will not operate as conventional universities, but as universities of technology.
Perhaps these polytechnics did not consider the flip side of a possible upgrade to degree status.
One of the effects of the conversion, according to Adeoye, will be the elimination of the national diploma and higher national diploma programs, as universities no longer have to produce these levels of students. So he argued that polytechnics should maintain the status quo, as they already award degrees, in addition to ND and HND.
âIt’s like shooting yourself in the leg because you’re reducing your ability. Rather, they should increase their capacity, enroll more students and improve the facilities available to them, âhe said.
Adeoye said universities and polytechnics have different roles to play in the education system, adding that polytechnics were created to meet the mid-level workforce needs of the economy.
âAll over the world, the polytechnic sector is essential for economic development. “
He stressed that it is not about conversion but about fulfilling the roles for which they were established.
He said the polytechnic is a skills-based system and when it is transformed into a university, this attribute could be lost.
He expressed concern that the country is currently employing expatriates for large construction projects as it lacks a skilled workforce.
âWe don’t produce enough ab initio. If we finally abandon it, it means that the gap between demand and supply will increase further. So I think we should step up what we’re doing and make sure we’re doing it right. If a polytechnic is known for one thing in particular, local and foreign companies will recruit their staff from that institution. “
For example, according to him, only one polytechnic in Nigeria trains students in underwater welding.
âSo if there is an oil line rupture, it is only at this polytechnic that welders will be sought. Otherwise, they will be brought from other countries. Polytechnics therefore need only look for a need in society that can meet it.
He said most polytechnics already offer degree programs, so moving on to college won’t add anything new except for awarding masters and doctorates.
âBut if you need a doctorate, that doesn’t necessarily mean you produce them. You, teachers and staff, can go and get doctorates at other universities.
Instead of looking for an upgrade, he said they should continue with their affiliate programs and step up and even produce more graduates. As the country’s population grows, so does the need for technical manpower. With the number of development projects across the country and the advancements in technology, polytechnics owe it to the country to produce the skilled workforce to handle them.
When asked if the clamor for the upgrade was the result of discrimination against polytechnic graduates, he replied that the discrimination is just a perception as the majority of people respond daily. human needs are those of the intermediate level.
On the issue of imbalanced funding for universities, he said there were more universities in the country than polytechnics, and universities had more staff and students, so they are likely to drop in. get more funds.
Instead of complaining about the lack of funding, he said polytechnics should come out of their shell and let people know what they can do and ask for help.
âFunding cannot be enough. What we need to do is start exploring other avenues in the world. There are a lot of hanging funds around the world for student training staff or for the provision of modern equipment. The training will be free for the establishment.
âFunding is not enough, but polytechnics should maximize what little they have. Promote a polytechnic for a particular field and perfect it to be sought after. He also advised polytechnics to focus on a few courses they would master and make their institutions a destination for such programs.
That way, he said, their graduates will be experts in these fields and can work anywhere.
He assured them of continued government support for technical education.