A royal father, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi has called on the management of polytechnics in the country to focus on the various curricular that would produce the manpower needed to drive the industrial development and other policies of government.
Oba Shotobi who made this call during the recent maiden three-day international conference of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Lagos state polytechnic chapter with a theme, Africa’s Solution to Africa’s Challenges: Nigeria’s Perspective’, affirmed that the curricular should focus on citizenship, collaboration and communication, creativity and imagination.
Others, he added, included critical thinking and problem solving, digital literacy, as well as leadership and personal development.
According to him, “as the custodian of technology education in the nation, these are core skills needed to transform Nigeria and champion sustainable development that will afford our next generation to compete favourably in the global arena.”
He stressed the need for Nigeria – being a major stakeholder in Africa – to focus on good governance, raising visionary leaders, promoting vocational, technical and entrepreneurial education, research and development, human capital development, strong and independent institutions, among others.
The monarch added “a veritable tool that has lent itself for societal transformation is education. The polytechnics were supposedly established to be the bedrock of the nation’s technology and vocational skills development.
“Therefore if this level of education is given proper attention, it has the capabilities to transform Nigeria from an import-dependent nation to a productive and self-sustaining nation.”
Shotobi appealed to the academic community to collaborate with companies in the country to develop indigenous technology and innovations that can drive the socio-economic and industrialisation goals of the nation.
The Vice President Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Mr. Timothy Ogunseye appealed to the federal government to expedite action towards approving the policy that would ensure an end to the discrimination between the HND and B.Sc certificates.
He expressed concern that the federal government that spearheaded the campaign is yet to fully implement it, adding that banks and other financial institutions discriminate between BSc and HND graduates by giving the former full time jobs and the latter temporary jobs.
“Former president Olusegun Obasanjo issued a fiat in which he directed that the dichotomy should be removed but that has not been done and the issue came up the second time in Minna and it’s only the Kano state government that has been magnanimous enough to pass it. I do not see any reason why the dichotomy should continue.”
Ogunseye who is the Head of Department, Banking and Finance, Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, stressed the need for polytechnic graduates to be given equal opportunity as their university counterparts.
He noted “the practical issue is that everybody should be tested for service and I want to assure you that quite a lot of my students upon graduation, take their bankers institute examination at a sitting and that is the extent of the quality of teaching that we are giving them and I am sure that is what is happening in other polytechnics.
“Everybody should be given the same equal opportunity; test them both in theory and practicals and you will discover that these people you are discriminating against are even far better.”
The Chairman of ASUP LASPOTECH chapter, Mr. Akinrinlola Ibitoye said the union has written to the government on the issue, adding that both HND and BSc graduates should be placed on the same pedestal.
“There is a position by the Senate and the issue is still raising dust and is still ongoing. We are aware about the discrimination in the private sector too. If the senate issues a position it becomes a national opinion, it will definitely affect the private sector,” he said
A former Rector of the polytechnic, Mr. Ayodeji Iginla stressed the need for the union not to relent in its effort to contribute its quota towards enhancement of the academic environment, adding that the theme attests to a desire to use academic discourse to facilitate scientific, technological and industrial development in the country.
In another development, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), of the polytechnic has embarked on an indefinite strike action, to protest the insensitive act of the management to respect the agreement earlier reached with the union on the payment of the CONTISS 15 migration arrears which had accumulated into 87 months.
The Chairman of the union, Comrade Akinrinlola Ibitoye said the indefinite strike takes immediate effect after an emergency congress it held last week, adding that academic activities in the full and part time programmes at the polytechnic have been grinded to a halt, as the strike is total.
“It should be noted, that the union has explored all peaceful and legal avenues to ensure that the avoidable strike is averted. The union has shown understanding enough, given supports where necessary to allow the management have a successful convocation ceremony despite the untold hardship being meted on the staff.”
The union, he noted had to resort to an emergency congress when it was obvious that the management was not showing any iota of willingness towards the agreement.
“It should be noted however that, this strike has nothing to do with His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode or Lagos state government, as it has graciously increased LASPOTECH’s subvention by 65 percent with a caveat that the increase should take care of the arrears,” Ibitoye said, adding that the union is still opened to negotiation to ensure that industrial harmony is restored to the polytechnic of excellensce and that the academic calendar is not disrupted.