The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has disclosed its readiness to restructure technical and vocational education in Nigeria. It said this will tackle issues that are negatively affecting the standard of such training.
The board’s Executive Secretary, Dr Masa’udu Kazaure, gave the assurance in Kaduna on Wednesday at a meeting with Chairmen and Rectors of state polytechnics.
The meeting was summoned to discuss critical issues affecting standards especially in states-owned polytechnics.
Kazaure noted that some of the institutions were running unaccredited courses, enrolling more than their capacity, facing serious funding gaps and have no proper statistics on their activities.
He added that the polytechnics have unqualified staff, and serious issues with their workers.
According to him, records from the board’s Quality Assurance Department indicate a worrisome level of continued existence of expired programmes in mostly state-owned polytechnics.
“This is a serious problem that if left unaddressed would greatly affect our standard.
“This problem is further compounded by the menace of over enrolment, driven solely by the desire to generate revenue.
“While there is the need to complement government subvention, education remains a social investment that is quality conscious.
“The board also observes with dismay, the trending practice of recruitment and promotion of unqualified staff especially in the academics in clear violation of prescribed rules.”
He stressed that appointment and promotion should not be at the whims and caprices of those in authority but based on laid down rules.
“Anything contrary will only water down standards and make our product half-baked.”
The NBTE boss also identified nonpayment of staff salaries and allowances running into several months and victimisation of union leaders by management as a recurring problem.
“There is also the problem of increasing wave of management and union conflicts, threatening the smooth running of academic calendars,” he added.
Kazaure stressed the need for partnership between the board, governing councils, rectors and other relevant stakeholders to solve the problems in order to maintain quality in the system.
Also speaking, Malam Usman Dutse, President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) thanked the board for organising the meeting with a view to addressing issues affecting quality in polytechnics.
Dutse, who acknowledged the problems identified by Kazaure, added that the institutions also have poor infrastructure and low staff strength.
The ASUP president also said the polytechnics have been withholding union dues and were interfering in union affairs.
He accused state governments of establishing most of the institutions purely on political grounds and now unable to meet minimum standard due to poor funding.
“In fact, most of the infrastructures in state polytechnics are TETFund projects.
“Today’s engagement presents a unique opportunity to address these issues which already threatened industrial harmony,” he said.
On his part, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, Chairman, Committee of Chairmen, Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics, said that the stakeholders must work together to address the problems.