The Federal Government has given its nod for N30 billion for polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
The approval followed agitations for better welfare for members by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP.
Mallam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, made this known at a round table organized by ASUP in Abuja, with the theme, “Repositioning Nigeria’s Polytechnics for National Relevance and Global Competitiveness.”
The Minister, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Board of Tertiary Education, NBTE, Mr. Idris Bugaje, said the money is intended to address the challenges facing Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in the country.
He assured that his ministry was working hard to make sure the money was released to the respective institutions.
“I am glad to report that as part of the realization of the pivotal role of polytechnics to the advancement of Nigeria, Mr President has approved the sum of N30 billion to ameliorate the challenges facing polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria.
“The Ministry is working hard to ensure the release of this amount to the respective institutions,” he said.
Adamu urged unions in tertiary institutions to focus more on capacity building through skill development which, he said, is its core mandate than on certification.
In his welcome address, President of ASUP, Comrade Anderson Ezeibe, advised the Federal Government to stop the indiscriminate proliferation of polytechnics and focus on funding and development of existing ones.
Ezeibe noted with dismay that Polytechnics are fast becoming mere constituency projects established to satisfy political convenience rather than for educational development and the growth of the nation.
He lamented the devaluation and discrimination of polytechnic graduates which he blamed on ignorance and poor funding for the institutions that has resulted in infrastructural gap, making polytechnics less attractive to students.
He said: “We do not agree with the continued establishment of new Polytechnics on the largely unsubstantiated premise of providing greater access to tertiary education for young Nigerians as the existing ones remain unattractive to young Nigerians.
“Our Polytechnics are fast becoming mere constituency projects established to satisfy political convenience.
“Our Polytechnics are currently facing an identity crisis as we are not convinced that sectorial mandates as envisioned in the National Policy on Education are being met.
“Our products are underappreciated, discriminated against and traumatized by the prospects of an uncertain future after their training.
“Our members (teaching staff in the sector) are demotivated as there is little or no sense of fulfillment or self actualization in their chosen careers.
“This is adversely affecting productivity and leading to consistent migration of qualified manpower away from the sector.
“The Polytechnics are nowhere close to preferred destinations for Nigerian students seeking tertiary education as the sector suffers from deep seated discrimination in different facets mainly driven by anachronistic tendencies.
“The nation has equally been reaping bountifully from the tale of woes in the sector as shown by different economic indices which constitute an embarrassment to a nation with so much promise.
“Funding is abysmally poor, leaving widening infrastructural gaps; legal and policy frameworks are insufficient leading to suspect levels of supervision and regulation.
“Curriculum review is Irregular, therefore leaving the sector with obsolete curricula which are out of sync with the dynamic needs of industry and societ
“Indeed the current unemployment figures in the country tell the entire story of a sector with diminishing impact to the nation’s economy.”