no No fewer than 20 polytechnics and colleges have been converted into universities, mainly by state governors, the Senate and the Federal Government. Sunday PUNCH the analysis
However, the Polytechnic Academic Staff Union and education reform activists labeled the move as a plan to “bury” the foundation of technical education in the country.
Recently, governors and members of the National Assembly came under fire for what they labeled as illegal proliferation of universities in the country.
The University Academic Staff Union warned in a statement against the establishment of new universities due to the lack of funds for the sustainability of established institutions.
Experts argued that the trend of upgrading polytechnics and schools of education to universities was becoming alarming, considering the role of both cadres in producing middle-level manpower.
Polytechnic Education provides technical and vocational training, technology transfer and skill development to enhance the socio-economic development of the country, while schools of education are responsible for producing professionally trained teachers for vocational and technical schools to meet the national technology requirements. . According to the provisions of the National Education Policy.
Recently, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, announced the upgrade of Emmanuel Alayande University of Education in the state to a college of education.
Earlier, the immediate past governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, announced the conversion of Osun State School of Education, Ilesha, to Ilesha University.
Also, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu, has announced that the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and the Michael Otedola College of Education will be converted into the Lagos State University of Education.
The governor also announced the upgrading of Lagos State Polytechnic to Lagos State University of Science and Technology.
In March this year, the governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwale, received approval from the National Universities Commission to convert the state-owned Shehu Shagari School of Education, Sokoto, into a university.
The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has announced the conversion of the University of Education, Agbor to the Delta State University of Education and the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, to the Delta State University of Science and Technology in 2021.
Some of the other polytechnics and educational institutes affected are Abia State Polytechnic; Abia State College of Education; Abia State College of Health Sciences and Management Studies; Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro; Federal Polytechnic, Ofa; Yaba College of Technology; and Kaduna State Polytechnic, among others.
While the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, stated that the reason for upgrading the institutions to universities was to increase access of citizens to university education, the National President of ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, described the upgrade as frivolous. “The manifestation of the lack of consistency in the search for vision by the owners of public polytechnics in the country”.
As Ezeibe stated, “Polytechnics were created to create technical/technological and vocational education professionals, who must respond to national labor needs in this way. This is why the practical component in polytechnic curricula is greater, as it is expected to produce people with practical experience. This is not the same with universities.
“The question for those embarking on this conversion journey like the Lagos State Government is whether the need for such manpower has been met. The main reason for the ill-conceived conversion is the declining enrollment numbers in polytechnics, as a result of discrimination against polytechnics and their products, as well as the government’s rural policy of awarding polytechnic degrees and also for anachronisms.
The president of ASUP raised the alarm that the future of this third level of education was in danger.
He added, “that’s what our union is shouting about as the future of the polytechnics is at stake. Our proposal to allow polytechnics to achieve degree-granting status will solve all of these problems: satisfy the demand for degree-level credentialing, deepen technical/technological education through curriculum enhancement, maintain a growing skilled polytechnic workforce, attract funding, and stop. HND/degree dichotomy.
“We are saying that the polytechnics should keep the OND certificate as a mid-level craft and use the same as the technology license certificate that the polytechnics will issue as a polytechnic in their own name, if the conditions set for it are met.”
An education reform activist, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, lamented that the nation’s leaders did not understand the philosophy behind the institutions.
“The philosophy of the polytechnics is to produce graduates who will go to work and put them into practice, while schools of education focus on training teachers, but we have a country that does not appreciate this philosophy. China converted more than 600 universities into polytechnics in 2018,” he said.