By Emmanuel Edukugho

Rectors from 40 Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in the country attended the 123rd regular meeting of the Council of Heads  of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in Nigeria (COHEADS), held at Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos, from 20th-23rd September, 2011.

In her welcome address,  Dr. Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, Rector, Yaba College of Technology, hosting the council just two years into her tenure of office, recalled that the last time the institution, which is the cradle of higher education in Nigeria hosted the meeting was about 15 years ago.

Ladipo charged her fellow rectors to brace up to the challenge of making a meaningful impact on the nation’s drive to actualize vision 20:2020. She affirmed that “we can achieve this by encouraging scholarship with established institutions and research centres across the globe.”

She urged that students should be encouraged to aspire for academic excellence by adequately rewarding outstanding performance and can also be more creative and innovative through sponsorship of their entrepreneurial initiatives by corporate bodies.

“As we confront the challenges of the 21st century, I want to assure you that Yaba College of Technology is well positioned to provide competency based, entrepreneurial education for the production of graduates relevant to the needs of the economy and the technological development of our nation.” Ladipo said the efforts of the Rectors would impact significantly in reshaping the face of technical education in Nigeria in our quest for technological and industrial emancipation as a nation.

Dr. Olekwu Benjamin Ella, Acting Chairman, COHEADS, in his opening remarks explained that meetings are normally rotated among member institutions within the Geopolitical zones of the country in order to foster national unity and also afford members opportunity to appreciate problems encountered by their colleagues in their respective institutions and possibly to offer useful advice on how to solve such problems.

He drew attention to the mandatory directive of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for all polytechnics and Colleges of  Technology to establish Entrepreneurship Centres and that it would become one of the conditions for giving accreditation to academic programmes.

Backbone of technological devt

“The incorporation of Entrepreneurship studies and Information Communication Technology in the new curricula for all Technical, and Vocational Education (TVE) in Nigeria by NBTE is one of the major Federal Government’s reform process in TVE which remains the backbone of technological development in any developing country in the world.”

*A cross section of Rectors at the meeting.

The Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Dr. M.A. Kazaure, represented by Chief Awa Mba, commended the great strides which the COHEADS have made so far and had no doubts that greater achievements would be made by the body in the years ahead. He said that the task of strengthening the TVET sector in Nigeria demands contributions from all and sundry.

“The TVET sector in this country is so vast and challenging that all hands must be on deck and all stakeholders must be actively, involved to move it forward,” he stated, adding, “with your support and cooperation, the Board is confident of consolidating on the gains of the sector as well as charting new courses during my tenure.”

Kazaure submitted that NBTE has assiduously pursued the full realisation of the presidnetial initiative for and revisiting TVET to equip 51 selected polytechnics in the country. Training of personnel to man the equipment for each of the beneficiary institutions now rescheduled to take place from 17th October, 2011 to 20th March, 2012 at the NBTE centre of Excellence, Kaduna. The Board launched its Directory of Accredited Programmes in all Tertiary institutions under its purview on Monday 26th September, 2011 in Kaduna.

The Directory is one of the most important publications of NBTE – a periodic publication which is both a database and reference material for all TVET institutions that run approved programmes of study in the country.

At the end of the meetings
which involved exhaustive deliberations on issues related to development of technological education, the following resolutions were reached and a communique signed by Dr. O.B. Ella,  Chairman, COHEADS was released.

*That the National Assembly should quickly pass into law the Bill on Retirement Age of Lecturers in Tertiary Institutions.

*COHEADS also resolved that the National Board for Technical Education should advise all polytechnic proprietors especially state governments to ensure that there is parity in the remuneration of all staff of polytechnics and Colleges of Technology to avert a situation where quality staff in the state polytechnics drift towards the Federal Polytechnics.

*COHEADS observes that there are two or more factions of National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) and regrets the trend. It appeals to all the factions to resolve their differences for one indissoluble National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS). It further resolves that Rectors should not identify with any of the factions  until they (the factions) resolve their differences. Meanwhile the matter has been referred to the Student Affairs Committee of COHEADS.

*It regrets the recent closure of some polytechnics in some states of the federation and appeals to all stakeholders for an immediate resolution of the conflict.

*COHEADS resolved that Government and proprietors of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology should do everything to ensure that pensioners from the polytechnic system and indeed all pensioners are treated with  due respect and their pensions paid to them promptly and regularly.

Special gratitude

*It expresses special gratitude to the people and Government of Lagos State in general and the Rector,  Management, Staff and Students of the Yaba College of Technology in particular for being wonderful hosts during the 123rd Regular meeting of COHEADS.

Among the polytechnics and Colleges of Technology whose Rectors or their representatives attended the meeting were Auchi Polytecnic, Auchi, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, The Polytechnic, Aba, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Federal Polytechnic, Kauranamodia, Federal Poly, Bauchi, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Osun State Polytechnic, Lagos State Polytechnic, Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Port Harcourt, Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Jigawa State College of Technology, Federal Polytechnic Idah and others.

Niger State Polytechnic, Zungeru, Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, College of Arts and Technology, Aba, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi and Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna.

Others are Federal Polytechnic, Nassarawa, Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori, Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara, Federal Polytechnic, Bida, Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, etc.

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