The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said institutions providing technical education in the country are not meeting the expectations required of them.
This, he said, was because such institutions have placed premium on the theoretical rather than the practical and technical.
Delivering the 27th convocation lecture of the Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH Ikorodu, on Tuesday, the former Osun State Governor said such institutions had abandoned the mandate for which they were established.
He delivered a lecture entitled “Technical education as a sure path to fulfilling Nigeria’s historic role in Nigeria.”
He said: “According to the Federal Polytechnic Act of 1979, the polytechnics were established to provide full or part time courses of instruction/training in technology, applies science, commerce and management and in such other fields of applied learning relevant to the need of the development of Nigeria in areas of Industrial and agricultural production and for research in the development and adaptation of techniques as the council may from time to time determine.
“How many polytechnics can really claim to be operating strictly within this mission statement? As a perceptive observer puts it, while universities are gravitating towards the technical, the polytechnics are gravitating towards the theoretical.”
Aregbesola condemned the situation where graduates acquire bland certificates that do not equip them with life sustaining skills.
On complaints by polytechnics that their graduates are discriminated against by employers, he described that as an indictment on their part.
“Employers, besides the public sector, are rational actors. They want well trained productive graduates that will add values to their enterprise.
“The test of quality therefore is in the field, what the employee has to offer. Ordinarily, graduates of polytechnics should have advantage over university graduates in the private sector because they are supposed to have received technical and vocational training,” he said.
He challenged the authorities to restructure polytechnics and start preparing their students for taking greater responsibilities in building the nation.
Aregbesola opined that for Nigeria to play her historic role on the continent, technical and vocational education must be redefined.
This, he added, would help in creating a body of people ready to demonstrate their technical knowhow on the globe and creatively provide solutions to societal challenges.
Aregbesola urged the graduating students to find solutions to problems in the society for them to be relevant.
“The education you have received is to cultivate your intellect and programme it to move from the known to the unknown in problem-solving and self-reliance as a member of the society. The path to riches and wealth creation is by finding a need in society and meeting it,” he said.
The Rector, LASPOTECH, Mr Samuel Sogunro, said the institution had recorded many giant strides since his assumption of office about five years ago.
He listed the accreditation of 67 out of the 68 courses run by the school.
The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, Dr Masa’udu Kazaure, praised the efforts of the management of the school for improving on the quality of teaching and learning in the institution.