The Principal, Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC), Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Ogochuku Ufoegbune has said the ongoing upgrade of facilities in the 70-year-old school would accelerate its production rate of middle-level manpower for the country.
Ufoegbune, who disclosed this recently in Lagos, said the huge investment in facilities by the federal government and other concerned partners over the years, has enabled the college to fulfil its mandate.
“I want to say that government in its bid to encourage and promote technical education and skills acquisition among the youths, especially students, has done a lot in terms of provision of facilities, recruitment of teachers and others in recent times.
“Given such enabling environment therefore, the college has been giving its best in ensuring that the purpose for which these facilities are provided is achieved. However, we also want to state that a lot more can be done in terms of facilities for us to be able to catch up with the 21st century demands.
“We are not excellent yet in terms of facilities, but at the same time, we are happy that these facilities are gradually being improved upon by the Federal Ministry of Education.
“We are also happy that even private bodies like the Parent Teacher Association and the old students are also interested in the upgrade of our college facilities and have come in to assist, having discovered that most of the facilities and equipment are becoming outdated for modern day demands,” she said.
According to the principal, in a bid to ensure the production of all-round and highly competent graduates, fully equipped with skills, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering recently adopted the institution, and promised to upgrade equipment and facilities and has since commenced work.
“As we speak, the academy has already renovated the Printing Section of the college and is going to equip it with modern facility, befitting of 21st century equipment for printing.
“It is also working on the Electrical Installation Section by way of upgrading the structure itself and thereafter, equip it. There is no doubt that the college is making accelerated progress in terms of facilities.”
Ufoegbune explained that the development would affect outcome generally, as the college would produce better students with the use of modern facilities in training them. “So, we are set to make a difference in the middle-level manpower that we are all craving for as a country.”
According to her, the college is willing to partner more organisations in order to improve the quality of existing facilities, adding that recently, she made contact with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) requesting for an intervention in the upgrade of facilities.
She said the federal government, apart from its continuous commitment in the upgrade of facilities over the years, is intending to expand the college’s science laboratory as in the 2018 Appropriation Act.
“We are now going to have a two storey building science laboratory. We are also looking forward to having renovations carried out on our technical workshops and other facilities, as well as a general overhaul of structures.
“Already we are expecting funds to renovate and expand the Assembly Hall to ensure that examinations and other academic activities can be conveniently carried out.”
On her plans to introduce short courses on skills acquisition for university and polytechnic graduates, Ufoegbune explained that the college has all it takes to commence the programme.
According to her, the facilities for the six/nine-month short courses are fully on ground. “However, the facilities may not be 100 per cent, but to a large extent we are ready.
“We need a kind of accreditation. We are still expecting officials from the Tertiary Department of the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to come and look at what we have on ground and get it approved before the programme can commence. We are expecting the accreditation to take place before the end of the year.
“Already, we are intensifying efforts to ensure that this is achieved in 2019. It is not within my powers, but I will do my best to ensure that the accreditation team is here to look at the facilities, as it is important that the programme is handled properly.”
Ufoegbune explained that the programme was designed to equip tertiary and secondary school graduates with life-long skills that would enable them set themselves up and even become employers of labour.