by Jacob Solomon Sunday
Academic activities in Nigeria’s public polytechnics have been paralyzed for the past 10 months which is over one academic year due to the strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the slow pace of action in resolving it by the education ministry. The demands of ASUP are deemed genuine and rightful as this is a timely intervention to the educational disaster waiting to rock the Nigeria education system.
Going by the figures available, Nigeria is a nation that is educationally disadvantaged. if you agree with me the mass failure of students in the SSCE exams (WAEC) yearly, this leads to re-writing the exam again and again for students who fail to make the necessary papers.
Also when you compare the number of secondary school graduate yearly to the number of JAMB UTME applicants, it is obvious that there is a population explosion in excess, that is over 70% of students that applied for JAMB the previous year are still re-applying the next year due to their inability to gain admission into tertiary institution. In most cases these students get frustrated after many trials and they end up on the on the streets (they also constitute the high number unemployed youths).
The slightly lucky students who were able to gain admission into tertiary institution may not know what the future holds for them, more especially the ones admitted into polytechnics and colleges of technology as our university do not have the capacity to admit all the students that chose them as preferred choice of institute even when they have passed the post-UTME exam as the case may be. Most of the students who were not admitted into universities will have to seek alternatives in polytechnics and colleges of technology/education.
Due to the present dichotomy and disparity between HND and BSc holders, the polytechnic applicant is already inferior to the university student in the making even before he\she starts the polytechnic program or course.
To this end, if the numbers of JAMB UTME applicants is compared to the numbers of students who successfully gained admission to both university, polytechnics and even college of education yearly, then our education system is on the decline as only 30.5% of over 1.7 million of students that sat for the 2013 UTME exams can be admitted into all tertiary institution (both public and private) in Nigeria. The former education minister, Prof Rukkayat Rufa’iconfirmed this during the 2013 UTME exams that of the 1.7 million students that applied for admission, our tertiary institutions’ capacity for admittance is just a paltry 520,000 (30.5%), then what is the fate of the over 1.2 million left? Wait for the next year and still add up to the fresh SSCE school leavers.
This is a clear case that Nigeria education system is seriously lagging behind. In the best interest of this nation and its future leaders as repeatedly being mentioned by the Mr. President and most public office holders, the Nigeria education system is the least that should harbor any
form of disparity or dichotomy.
Review and upgrade of Nigeria tertiary education curriculum which is obsolete and outdated to meet with international standard that is obtainable worldwide, this will curb the menace of Nigerians running to other African countries where admission processes is not too ambiguous .
Upgrading of academic facilities in all our polytechnics and colleges of technology/education to prepare students ahead of challenges to be encountered in the industries.
Total removal of dichotomy and disparity between the HND holders and BSc holders in career progression and job placement to enable HND holders rise to the highest post in both public and private establishment and compete favorably with BSC holders without any form of discrimination, because that will be clinically suicidal if after the mandatory 5 years HND students are expected to spend in school they are still being relegated behind BSc holders who mostly spend 4 years in school.
Establishment of polytechnics commission which will be responsible for accreditation of courses in polytechnics and defaulting institutions will be discredited; this will enable proper checks and balance and close monitoring and control of the polytechnic education.
Enable selected polytechnics based on merit (that have met the standard laid down and deemed fit) to be degree awarding institutions (B Tech) and also creation of a bridging course that will enable ND holders cross to any university of their choice as 300 level students after meeting the established standards.
Accreditation and recognition of National Innovative Diploma (NID) institutions, this will open up more options for students as they can cross to any polytechnic or university after completion of NID programs, this will also ease the pressure university’s and polytechnics. .
Accreditation and upgrading of home science, technical colleges, monotechnics, and health science institution to offer affiliate programs with established university and also allowing them to offer NID programs.
Upgrading of colleges of education to enable graduate to observe youth service and / create a bridging course that can facilitate them been awarded degree from university of their choice.
Creation of a regulatory commission to checkmate the activities of all public and private
post-secondary school institutions to ensure that set standards are adhered to strictly.
Proper funding of all educational institutes and making sure the funds are judiciously utilized.
ON ASUP STRIKE
After 10 months of strike action and no forthcoming solution, this shows the lack of empathy and commitment on the side of the government and education ministry, also it took the National Assembly 8 months to realize that ASUP was on strike and only recently intervened.
In whatever case the students are always on the receiving end because after wasting one academic year at home if the strike is finally called off and the demands of ASUP are not met, then we the students have lost at both ends and rendered helpless.
I hereby call on everyone that is involved on this strike issue to proffer a lasting solution and tentatively tackle the remote cause to prevent further disaster and curb the academic bomb waiting to explode on this country Nigeria.
Yours in pragmatic struggle,
Comrade Jacob Solomon Sunday
President, Polymer and Textile Students Association
Yaba College of Technology
Member, Education Right Campaign (ERC)
Ministry of Education
Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics
All media houses
The general public and fellow students