The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Anderson Ezeibe has faulted the Federal Government’s position to upgrade some polytechnics to universities, saying such a plan particularly at this period is a misplaced priority.
He also said the establishment of new polytechnics by the government or granting of license to private operators for new ones is equally unnecessary at this time as the proliferation of polytechnics in the country according to him won’t translate to an automatic increment of access to polytechnic education by young Nigerians.
He said what is required and should be the priority of government at this time is to give deserved attention to the existing public polytechnics by adequately funding them and also providing them with requisite infrastructure and taking good care of the personnel.
According to him, we the polytechnic lecturers are not carried away by the government upgrading one polytechnic or the other to university.
He said this was because that is not the major issue to the lecturers as far as polytechnic education is concerned in the country particularly at this time.
The main issue, he explained, is for government to look after the existing schools either polytechnics or universities or even primary or secondary schools.
He said it is obvious that the existing public schools across levels are not only suffering neglect but also dying and wonder why the need for new ones.
“So, let the government changes if it likes the name or status of one school to another many time, the problems will remain the same if proper attention is not given to such school,” he stressed.
While also asking the government to create enabling environment for private polytechnics to thrive and also plays their supervisory roles on them, Mr Ezeibe pointed out that there is nothing wrong if polytechnics are also allowed to award bachelor and master of technology degrees like the various universities of technology are doing.
He said after all the Act establishing polytechnics in the country makes provision for them to produce high-level manpower just as it is being produced by the universities, hence, the need to allow them to award degrees alongside OND and HND.
He said what would remain is for such polytechnics to use the federal universities of technology curriculum to train students for such programmes and also meet up with other requisite conditions.
Ezeibe however, noted that ASUP members had already returned to classrooms for academic activities following the suspension of their 65 days of industrial action.
He said they are ready to cope with academic works as may be stipulated by their respective managements.