…Want FG to lift the embargo on employment
By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
The Federal Government’s embargo on employment has affected the smooth running of Federal Polytechnics in the country.
An investigation conducted revealed that these institutions were now faced with the serious challenge of the dearth of requisite academic staff.
A source at the National Board for Technical Education, the supervisory body of Polytechnics in Nigeria, said some of the institutions visited for quality assurance have failed accreditation, owing to the acute shortage of requisite manpower.
” Under the normative instruments of the regulatory body, availability of the right mix of staff is a key requirement,” said the source.
“The Executive Secretary of NBTE, Prof Idris Bugaje and the Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER); the umbrella body of Rectors of Federal Polytechnics in Nigeria have severally written a Save Our Soul (SOS) to the Hon. Minister of Education and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for intervention,” the source explained.
The source confided in Vanguard that the Executive Secretary of the NBTE, in the letter with ref No. C/TEB.564/VOL.II/331 dated 10th May 2021 to Head of Service of the Federation, allegedly expressed worry that the Polytechnics sector presently suffered from inadequate technical manpower due to inability to replace retired staff and those who died.
” This is causing impediments in maintaining current training programmes not to talk of adding new ones,” as was written in the letter.
“He identified some of the new programmes as Railway Engineering, Gas Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering etc, and appealed for her kind intervention, warning however that ïf the Polytechnics are not allowed to do the replacements, it will bring down the quality of TVET products and prevent rolling out new ones”.
“In a separate letter with ref No. C/TEB. 201/VOL.VII/80 dated 7th October 2021 addressed to the Hon. Minister of Education, Prof Bugaje requested him to endorse the plea by Federal Polytechnics to replace exited staff for the approval of Mr President.”
“He cautioned that “Most of the Federal Polytechnics shall lose accreditation due to inability to replace retired and exited staff”, adding that, “I would not want us to lower the standards already set.”
“The Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER) in its letter of appeal with Ref. No. COFER/SEC/VOL.3/10 dated 5th October 2021 and addressed to the Head of Service, expressed the fears that the embargo on employment could deprive the national economy of the much needed technically skilled manpower.”
“While noting that most of the institutions are static in academic development due to lack of adequate personnel to teach students, the Federal Rectors pointed out that “NBTE do require Polytechnics who are applying for accreditation and reaccreditation of their programmes and courses to meet the required staff-student ratio”.
“According to the committee, “the consequence of not meeting laid down staff ratio always leads to de-accreditation of such programmes”, and appealed for a waiver which it said will ameliorate the state of manpower needs in the Polytechnics.”
However, the Executive Secretary was said to have confirmed the development which he said was worrisome as the sector risks losing the gains recorded over the years.
“Appreciating the huge personnel cost, Prof. Bugaje appealed to Mr President to intervene and declare a state of emergency in the education sector,
He requested the Head of Service to categorise Polytechnics in the same category as the health sector for the purpose of lifting the embargo on employment to save it from collapse.