FG Promises More Investment in Science and Technology Education

President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has said that the Federal Government will continue to invest in education at all levels especially in the Science, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET).

President Buhari who stated this at the combined convocation ceremony of the Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa which was held on 30th June 2018 added that the government is committed to pursuing goals set in laying a solid foundation for building a viable nation.

The President who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, stated that the government is confident that it will emerge victorious in effecting positive change to the lives of the people particularly the less privileged. He congratulated the graduands and urged them to join him in charting a new course for the nation, stressing “together we can work to reinvent our country and negotiate better tomorrow for all.”

Prof Abubakar Rasheed
Representative of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR and ES NUC Prof Abubakar Rasheed with Representative of ES NBTE Mal Musa D. Hadejia

In his address at the ceremony, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said that the government is committed to strengthening the capacity of the polytechnics to train competent persons capable of contributing to the social, economic, industrial and technological development of the nation. He reiterated that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is the ultimate solution to the problem of unemployment in the country.

The Minister urged polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning in the country to develop career guidance that will enable the youth to engage in lifelong learning and development as well as key into the transformation agenda of the Government because it has a major role in the area of TVET.

He said that the youth cannot be useful in the task of nation building unless they acquire the skills and technical knowhow considering the fact that development of a nation depends on its youths which constitute the bulk of the workforce.

Rep of HME
Representative of HME and Director ICT, FME, Mr Ifegwu Orji

“Technical and Vocational Education is capital and material intensive and the federal government is making all necessary investments in both human and material terms to ensure that Nigerian tertiary institutions are ranked among the league of global institutions. Efforts are made through TETFund and other sources to upgrade the institutions in area of infrastructure academic and development.” The minister reiterated.

He however called on individuals and organisations to support the efforts of the government, noting that in addition to impacting knowledge and skills to the youths, the institutions should inculcate in them behavioural conduct and norms that shun anti-social behaviour, corruption and immorality.

Also, the Chairman of the Polytechnic Governing Council, Emeritus Professor Godwin Sogolo said that government needs to focus more on the education sector especially the TVET sub sector. He said that the sub sector is capital intensive which is why government at all levels must improve on the funding.

He emphasized the importance of TVET especially at this period of diversification of the nation's economy, noting that the country is blessed with abundant natural resources which have remained untapped and underutilized while people continue to suffer from poverty, unemployment and other forms of economic hardship.

The Chairman called on the Management of the Polytechnic to be prudent in utilization of resources adding that educational institutions especially polytechnics must ensure judicious use of resources allocated to them.

He charged the institution to strive to establish centres of excellence in specialized field such as agriculture and solid minerals.

In his address, the Ag. Rector of the Polytechnic, ESV. Abdullahi Alhassan Ahmed stressed the importance of scientific and technological literacy, stating that jobs demand specialized skills which require people to think out of the box and called on the government to invest more in polytechnic education for the acquisition of skills needed in the 21st century economy.

He commended the Federal Government for bridging the gap between HND and B.sc in relation to entry into the public service, stressing that this will boost the confidence and morale of the polytechnic graduands.

The Ag. Rector added that institutions have a role to play in ensuring that the curriculum contents of the polytechnic which focus on science, technical and skills acquisition is practically accomplished.

According to him, the polytechnic has taken the bull by the horns in addressing the challenges facing the institution among which is the convocation ceremony which was last done in 2013. He said the institution has recorded developments which cut across the areas of infrastructure, academic, staff development as well as students enrolment.

Cross Section of Graduands
Cross section of graduands during the convocation

ESV. Abdullahi said all programmes run by the polytechnic are successfully accredited; assuring also that the polytechnic will improve on the quality of training as well as create a conducive environment for research, teaching and learning for the students to make them relevant and self-reliant. “The polytechnic would be in a position to compete favourably with the best globally such that our students would receive the highest quality of training in scientific, technical and vocational knowledge and skills.” The rector noted.

He listed the challenges of the institution to include inadequate funding which has slowed down activities in key areas of operations, lack of perimeter fencing around the campus which poses security challenges, lack of hostel accommodation and poor enrolments especially from catchment states for engineering and technology thereby affecting the 70:30 ratio.

He congratulated the graduands on their successful training and enjoined them to be good ambassadors of the institution and contribute their quota towards the growth of the nation and use the skills acquired to create job opportunities for themselves.

Honorary Fellowship of the Polytechnic was conferred on eminent personalities for their outstanding contributions to education in particular and to political and socio-economic development of the nation. They included; Alh. Umaru Tanko Almakura, Governor of Nasarawa State; Ambasador Muhammad Buba Ahmed (Magajin Garin Nasarawa), former Minister of Sports; High Cheif Ikechi Emenike, a philanthropist; and Sen. Abubakar Danso Sodangi (Dan Malikin Nasarawa, Jarman Lere).

A total of 20,302 graduands comprising 6,451 Higher National Diploma (HND), 9819 National Diploma (ND) and 4031 Diploma were awarded diplomas and certificates in various courses run by the polytechnic for the combined convocation for the 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 academic sessions.