The rector of the Federal Polytechnic Daura, Aliyu Mamman, has decried the lack of regard for polytechnic education in Nigeria, especially by the government.
Mr Mamman said this on Wednesday afternoon during the opening ceremony of the 45th quarterly meeting for bursars of polytechnics and colleges of technologies held in Daura, Katsina State.
The rector said despite the role polytechnics play in producing “productive and qualitative” graduates, they are not being accorded the deserved respect by both governmental and non-governmental agencies.
He said, “I’m happy that the NBTE representatives are here. One of the challenges the polytechnic education sector faces is a lack of respect and recognition by the constituted authorities themselves. This is because anything that has to do with polytechnics is more or less second class but when we talk of the universities that’s where they’re. So this kind of mentality and attitude is giving us nightmares.
“I’m not saying that the institutions are not regarded completely because the federal government for instance has been maintaining the schools and others are being established but when you compare it with other institutions (universities) the level of commitment is different.”
He also said despite the technical knowhow of polytechnic graduates, the “system” has over the years made them “second class citizens”
“Even when it comes to funding, I know that the universities are not more expensive than polytechnics but they give twice as much to the universities as they give us. That’s even one of the reasons the ASUP (Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics) are at loggerheads with the government. Two years ago, N16 billion intervention fund was to be given to us but even N6 billion has not been released to us,” he added.
The rector called on the bursars to take it upon themselves to reach out to the federal ministry of finance, the accountant general of the federation, the budget office and other stakeholders to get funding for skill acquisition programmes for polytechnics.
Meanwhile, the North-west zonal director of the National Board of Technical Education, NBTE, Garba Nalado, has tasked the participants at the conference to come up with ways to improve revenue generation for their institutions.
He said Nigeria needs graduates with practical knowledge which could only be achieved through the skill acquisition programmes in the schools.
“I’m therefore calling on the bursars to advise their rectors to go into research and innovations so that we can come out with something unique for the NBTE to showcase. I think we can come out with some funds from that direction. You should look inward and see how to advise the institutions to make use of their facilities to generate revenue for the institutions,” he said.
Mr Nalado said the NBTE has given an ultimatum to polytechnics across the country to make use of their skill acquisition programmes or risk not being accredited.
“NBTE has given an ultimatum that institutions are expected to establish skill development centres. When the ultimatum expires, that is when the NBTE will take action. The policy is to encourage institutions to key into the skill acquisition programmes. The ultimatum is by 2023 but it’s also subject to availability of funds because we know it’s expensive,” he added.
In his remarks, the National President of Polytechnics Bursars Association, Salisu Ladan, said the quarterly meeting is being organised for members to exchange progressive ideas, especially in the financial administration of polytechnics.
“During the meeting, issues that could bring about the desired results especially to promote prudence, integrity and accountability as regards our institutions will be discussed,” Mr Ladan said.
The meeting is being attended by all bursars of federal and state-owned polytechnics as well as colleges of technologies across the country.
The association, according to its president, was incorporated in 2008 as the umbrella organisation for financial officers of the polytechnics and colleges of technologies.