James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Vice-Chancellor of the Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, Prof. Jeremiah Oludele Ojediran has identified the dearth of technical and vocational education has the bane of technological growth and advancement of the country.
He, therefore, called on government at both federal and state levels in the country to revisit vocational and technical education and invest heavily on it for the advantage of the country
Prof. Ojediran, who said this at a press conference to herald the 11th Convocation of the institution, held in the institution’s premises lamented that technical school in the country is moribund.
He said, “in the years past; especially in the 60s, there were technical colleges in the country and most people that passed through these technical colleges were artisans in industries. They were skilled artisans, some of them have their own businesses and they contributed in no small measure to the technological advancement of the country then”.
“One major problem that this country has is the fact that, we have virtually phased out technical colleges. If they still exist, they are very few, poorly funded and there are no facilities and equipment to teach their students practical”.
“Our education sector has been bastardized. Our technical colleges are moribund, there is no equipment”, Prof. Ojediran lamented.
The Varsity Don emphasized that Vocational and Technical education is the route to go in this country if we want Nigeria to grow technologically.
“Our government must go back to technical education and fund them very well”. “Vocational and Technical education is the only way out of the current economic crisis in the country. If we must get out of our economic challenges, we must revive our vocational and technical education”, he said.
The foundation of our economy is technical education. The standard of technical education in the country is low.
Speaking on the meager allocation of N46 billion to education in the 2020 Appropriation Bill presented by President Mohammadu Buhari to the National Assembly, Prof. Ojediran appealed to the federal government to revisit the allocation to education sector and increase the funding, positing that development of human capital is vital to economic and technological advancement of the country.
He said, “government must go back and increase the budget on education because education is very paramount. It must do something about the budget. I’m totally against the low budget for education and I’m sure many of us who know the value of education will agree with me.
“If this country must move forward, we must have a plan for the development of human resources. Investment in human resources in our country is like investing in the entire country, is like building the country. So giving education the lowest share in the budget is like going backward”.
Prof. Ojediran reiterated his call on the federal government to assist private universities with funds, saying that the private universities as “partners in progress” in the nation-building in the area of manpower training for the socio-economic advancement of the country.
He said, private universities in Nigeria should be seen as partners in progress by the government in ensuring that the Nigeria project succeeds, especially in the provision of the desired high level of manpower needed for the advancement of the country”.
Also, it is proven time over, that we produce graduates who have proven their worth against the best, the world over”.
“We believe that it is time that some dues are paid to this segment of positive contributors to the society and partners in progress with the government”.
“Government must come to the aid of private universities in terms infrastructure, equipment and other things that they need to develop human resources and our economy”.
He added that “the modalities for this could be easily worked out with relative overseeing bodies. It is worthy of note that despite the clamour that private universities are in business, the yardstick for measuring standards and compliance are stringent, if not more that the federal universities”.