Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

The outgoing Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Shuaibu Musa, has tasked the federal government on the need to restructure the polytechnic sector to make it more qualitative and efficient in the discharge of its mandate.

Musa, who spoke during the hand-over ceremony held at the council chamber of the institution, said “despite the fact that polytechnic education has been recognised as the producer of the required technical manpower that drives the competency-based economic activities of the nation, it has not enjoyed the commensurate support it deserves.

“The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the body charged with the responsibility of regulating the sector is overburdened, given that it has to superintend over 600 institutions across the country. The time has come for the institutional arrangement to be reviewed.”

Musa also called for massive funding for the provision of heavy equipment and tools needed for hands-on training in polytechnics. “An earlier needs assessment conducted in the sector needs to be urgently revisited and implemented to rescue the polytechnics. A coordinated resuscitation of the manufacturing industries would bring back the glory to technical manpower, and may reduce or even eliminate the effect of the current dichotomy the polytechnic graduates are facing and further improve their societal image, which is currently low.

“Given that world economies are increasingly becoming more knowledge based, it will be worthwhile for the Nigerian polytechnic sector to be liberalised and be given room to award degrees and higher qualifications so as to accelerate the attainment of the goals and objectives of the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the current administration.”

On the challenges facing the polytechnic, Musa said: “One can easily identify the inadequacy of funds as a notable challenge. The low internal revenue generation capacity of the institutions and the federal government’s meagre allocation of recurrent costs have dampened the rate of growth in the polytechnic.

“The policy of outsourcing essential welfare services such as security and cleaning services and the devolution of payment of some personnel costs, such as academic allowances, from the internally generated revenue of institutions has further compounded the challenge. There is need for review of these policies in order to reduce industrial disharmony and accelerate the growth rate at the institutional levels.

The outgoing rector also appreciated the cooperation and support accorded to him by the staff of the institution during his eight years tenure, saying, “I urge you to please improve and sustain the tempo for posterity.”

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the institution, Abubakar Dantata, who was represented by Hashiru Abubakar, commended the outgoing rector for the numerous achievements recorded in the institution in the past eight years, wishing him success in his future endeavour.

On his part, the new acting Rector, Sanusi Waziri Gumau solicited the support of the staff of the institution to enable him succeed. “We must all work together for the success of this institution. I want to appeal to you not to capitalise on my weakness, but checkmate and advise me always. This polytechnic is for all of us, so we must work together for the development of our institution.”

He warned against rumour mongering among the staff, charging them to always verify all issues for better understanding. Gumau also commended the outgoing rector for his support, as well as carrying all members of staff along in the last eight years.