By Grace Udofia
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), has said Polytechnics are not constituency projects, even as the union has appealed to the Federal Government to stop the opening of new ones across the country.
President of the Union, Anderson Ezeibe, who made the plea during a two-day Workshop tagged: “Advocacy Roundtable on the Future of Nigerian Polytechnics”, in Abuja, explained that instead of opening new Polytechnics, the people concerned should rather work more on improving the existing ones that have become unattractive to young Nigerian students.
“We do not agree with the continued establishment of new Polytechnics on the largely unsubstantiated premise of providing greater access to tertiary education as the existing ones remain unattractive to young Nigerians.
“Our Polytechnics are fast becoming mere constituency projects established to satisfy political convenience.
“Our Polytechnics are currently facing identity crisis, we are not convinced that sectorial mandates as envisioned and captured in the National Policy on Education are actualising met.
“Our products (graduates) are under-appreciated, discriminated against and traumatised by the prospects of an uncertain future after their training.
“Our members (teaching staff in the sector) are demotivated, there is little or no sense of fulfillment or self actualisation in their chosen careers.
“This is adversely affecting productivity and leading to consistent migration of qualified manpower from the sector.
“Polytechnics are nowhere close to preferred destinations for Nigerian students seeking tertiary education as the sector suffers from, deep seated discrimination in different facets mainly driven by anachronistic tendencies,” he said.
He added that, “The nation had equally been reaping bountifully from the tale of woes in the sector as shown by different economic indices which constituted embarrassment.
“Funding is abysmally poor, leaving widening infrastructure gaps; legal and policy frameworks are insufficient, leading to suspect levels of supervision and regulation.
“Also cutting edge research and innovation activities are virtually non-existent as attempts at research remain at subsistence levels with little or no impact in the society.
“The famed triple and/or quadruple helix structure which provides a meeting point between institution, industry and government, thereby guaranteeing consumption of research products for national development, are currently difficult to attain.
“Curricula review is irregular, therefore, leaving the sector with obsolete curricula which is out of sync with the dynamic needs of industry and society.
“Indeed, the current unemployment figures in the country tell the entire story of a sector with diminishing impact to the nation’s economy.
“The union had resolved to present advocacy for legislative, policy and managerial reviews that would lead to sustainable and impactful changes in the sector.
“The outcome of this programme shall be published and distributed to relevant arms and agencies of government as advocacy materials reflecting the desired direction of growth for the sector.
“Our union is determined to ensure that this will not end up as yet another talk shop as we shall diligently pursue the outcomes of this programme to the best of our ability”.