The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics on Tuesday said the establishment of Polytechnics in Nigeria is fast becoming mere constituency projects to satisfy political convenience.
ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, stated this in Abuja at a two-day workshop themed: “Advocacy Roundtable on the Future of Nigerian Polytechnics” organised by the union.
He said, “We do not agree with the continued establishment of new Polytechnics on the largely unsubstantiated premise of providing greater access to tertiary education for young Nigerians as the existing ones remain unattractive to young Nigerians.
“Our Polytechnics are currently facing an identity crisis as we are not convinced that sectoral mandates as envisioned and captured in the National Policy on Education are being met.
“Our products (graduates) are under-appreciated, discriminated against, and traumatized by the prospects of an uncertain future after their training.
“Our members (teaching staff in the sector) are demotivated as there is little or no sense of fulfillment or self-actualization in their chosen careers. This is adversely affecting productivity and leading to consistent migration of qualified manpower away from the sector.”
Ezeibe added that the 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 noted that the nation had equally been reaping bountifully from the tale of woes in the sector as shown by different economic indices which constitute an embarrassment to a nation with so much promise.
“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 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,” he said.
On his part, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, former Minister of Education, who was chairman of the occasion while declaring the programme open, maintained that the failure of the government to do the right thing has been aggravating industrial disharmony.
“One problem that I know that makes a strike persists is the failure of leadership in government. The fact is that unions are there to promote the wellbeing of their members and to promote the objective of the various institutions established,” he said.