By Adesina WahabAregbesola
FORMER Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said that institutions providing technical education in the country were not meeting expectations of the society because they have turned to being theoretical rather than being technical in practice. He stated this while delivering the 27th convocation lecture of the Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH, Ikorodu on Tuesday.
In the lecture entitled “Technical Education as a sure path to fulfilling Nigeria’s historic role in Africa,” Aregbesola said such institutions had abandoned the mandate for which they were established.
He asserted: “According to the Federal Polytechnic Act of 1979, the polytechnics were established to provide full or part time courses of instruction/training in technology, applied science, commerce and management and in such other fields of applied learning relevant to the need of the development of Nigeria in areas of industrial and agricultural production and for research in the development and adaptation of techniques as the council may from time to time determine.
“How many polytechnics can really claim to be operating strictly within this mission statement? As a preceptive observer puts it, while universities are gravitating towards the technical, the polytechnics are gravitating towards the theoretical.”
Aregbesola condemned the situation where graduates acquired bland and blank certificates that do not equip them with life sustaining skills.
On complaints by polytechnics that their graduates were discriminated against by employers, he described that as self indicting. “Employers, besides the public sector, are rational actors. They want well trained productive graduates that will add value to their enterprises. The test of quality, therefore, is in the field, what the employee has to offer. Ordinarily, graduates of polytechnics should have advantage over university graduates in the private sector because they are supposed to have received technical and vocational training,” he said.
Aregbesola challenged the authorities to restructure polytechnics snd start preparing their students for taking greater responsibilities in building the nation, stressing that for Nigeria to play her historic role on the continent, technical and vocational education must be redefined.
The Rector, LASPOTECH, Mr. Samuel Sogunro, said the institution had recorded many giant strides since his assumption of office about five years ago. He listed the accreditation of 67 out of the 68 courses run by the school and some scientific and technological feats recorded by the institution.
The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, Dr. Masa’udu Kazaure, praised efforts of the management of the school for improving the standard of teaching and learning in the institution.