The Chairman, Governing Council, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, has decried the poor funding of polytechnic education in the country; this he said has hampered the growth of the sector and prevented its products from being globally competitive.
He said Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) requires more funding to achieve the needed results.
Fagbemi, who spoke at the 31st convocation ceremony of the college, said while it takes an average of $7,105 to train one engineering student, government only earmarked N5 billion for the institution to cover personnel, overhead and capital projects.
“Polytechnic education is meant to provide a country with the needed technical manpower for the advancement of technology and economic empowerment. It is also a veritable means of solving the unemployment problem that has long plagued our country. At the projected rate of $7,105 per student, the sector would require about N45 billion to train the current set of engineering students alone.
“Long gone were the days when our country had so much money and also the problem of how to spend it. The irony today is that there are countless areas of our socio, economic and education lives begging for financial attention. Unfortunately, the so much money of the 70s is no more available.”
As a way out of the financial imbroglio, he called for prudent management of resources, saying that monies meant for the sector must strictly be spent on education and nothing else.
He stressed that the polytechnic sub-sector cannot grow in a situation where proceeds from national education tax are spent on other sectors, adding “we must strive to attain nothing less than 90 per cent implementation of our annual budget for our institutions for the next 20 years to see meaningful changes.”
Fagbemi also solicited more funding from the federal government, while assuring the government of the college’s readiness to contribute to the economic and technological development of the country.
In his remarks, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, appealed to polytechnics to conduct more research and technological innovations, saying that academic programmes must be in tune with global trends to enable graduating students compete effectively and remain relevant in the world of work.
To achieve this, the minister tasked regulating agencies to continually monitor the programmes to ensure that prescribed standards are met, particularly in the areas of staffing, curriculum, library facilities and infrastructure.
He added that new and relevant programmes must continually evolve in accordance with the dynamics of a rapidly changing world, while advocating collaboration between educational institutions and employers of labour to give direction in the area of curriculum development to enhance the teaching and learning process.
The outgoing Rector, Dr. Margaret Ladipo said about 9,021 graduands, comprising full and part time students, were produced by the college for the 2015/2016 academic session.
Earlier at a national workshop by the institution’s alumni in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the college, Fagbemi lauded the role of members in the growth of their alma mater and called for their inclusion in the governing council of YABATECH for accelerated development.