By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—WORRIED by the slow pace of industrial and technological development in the country, the Federal Government has disclosed plans to upgrade more polytechnics into degree awarding institutions, Minister for Education, Prof.Ruqqayat Rufai, has said.
The Minister, who spoke at the 18th Convocation Ceremony of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, last weekend, said government decided to strengthen the educational sector by establishing six new universities to be sited in each of the six geopolitical zones.
She pointed out that it would be difficult for the nation to develop technologically without laying a solid foundation.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sabo Abasu, noted that “every year, over one million candidates seek admission into universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
“Statistics show that the combined capacity of our tertiary institutions can barely accommodate half of these candidates. As part of its efforts to increase access, government had earlier approved the upgrading of two polytechnics and four Federal College of Education to degree awarding status.
“In the near future, necessary steps would be taken to upgrade more polytechnics that meet up with the required standards to degree-awarding status. Let me emphasize that for our nation to develop technologically and industrially, we must invest in science and technology education.”
Prof. Rufai added, however, that the Federal Government would continue to “ do its best to create conducive environment for learning, teaching and research at all levels of tertiary education”.
Earlier in her address, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr (Mrs) Philipa Idogho, regretted that the spate of forgeries and rackets in falsification of entry qualifications had become embarrassing in the past two years in the institution.
“It is unfortunate that some parents collude with their children to perpetrate forgeries. This year, the polytechnic expelled 69 students for forging credentials and rusticated 130 other for various forms of examination malpractices.
“To preserve the integrity of our certificates, management has purchased a holographic machine that will engrave security marks on the credentials we issue,” she stated.