The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has appealed to polytechnics in the country to work with government and corporate organisations by establishing a system of entrepreneurship that will retool its students.
Aregbesola, who made this appeal recently while delivering the 27th convocation lecture of Lagos State Polytechnic titled ‘Infrastructural Deficit and Technological Development in Nigeria: The Role of Technical Education’, expressed concern that graduates are acquiring bland certificates that do not equip them with life sustaining skills, adding that most times, they are turned down by employers who consider them as unemployable.
“Polytechnics complain that their graduates are discriminated against by employers. This is self- indicting. Employers, besides the public sector, are rational actors, they want well trained productive graduates that will add value to their enterprise.”
He also expressed concern about the quality of polytechnic graduates, saying that they are supposed to have an advantage over their university counterparts, but that their knowledge and skills have become so obsolete that they have to be trained and retrained to be able to fit into the workplace.
“This is where the schools fail their graduates and is the basis of rejection,” the minister said, adding that polytechnics should prepare their students for a competitive job market with indisputable and unignorable job skills.”
Aregbesola, who stressed the importance of certified technical knowledge, said this should be a requisite for any person aspiring to be a builder.
“Needs also exist in improved building and landscaping techniques. Our environment is ugly and we are in constant danger of building collapse because then technical knowledge is missing. Certified technical knowledge is the file in some of our neighbouring countries where it is compulsory to receive technical education before being certified as competent to engage in any aspect of construction.”
The beauty of the built-up environment in developed countries, the minister said, is largely due to landscape engineering which is what separates the civilised from the uncivilised environment.
“Save for the few beautiful houses, our environment is chaos, total bedlam! The space from the road to the house, the setback, must be cultivated and it requires a specific specialised technical knowledge to do that,” he said, while expressing hope that polytechnic will start offering landscaping as a vocational course in the environmental sciences.”
He stressed the need for polytechnic graduates to revive the indigenous dye industry and supply all the colours for the textile industry, adding that they could also get training and empowerment in the area of recycling old motorcycles, cars, trucks, tractors and industry machine.
He described these areas as unlimited opportunities for jobs, relevance and professional engagements for teeming polytechnic graduates.
“It is most regrettable that the indigenous technology for producing dyes for the textile industry is almost lost as we now import colours, even for making adire, a local textile material.
“Regrettably, Nigeria has become a huge cemetery for vehicles of all sorts. Paradoxically, we have the taste for the most modern automobiles even when we don’t manufacture any. And then, we have the highest vehicle obsolescence rate in the world. We should be able to recycle them when necessary and more importantly, produce and source parts for them and maintain them for optimal use,” Aregbesola stressed.