• Bogoro Tasks Polytechnics, COEs on Skills, Entrepreneurial Innovations
  • Bugaje Talks Tough, Says No Accreditation for Polys without Skills Development Prograamme in 2023
  • Calls for Horizontal collaborations Between Universities, Polytechnics’ Centres of Excellence

By Oyendamola Adeyemi

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, (TETFund), has called on Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in the country to step up action and double their efforts in entrepreneurship and skills development.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, made the call in Abuja, at a capacity building workshop for heads of selected institutions and staff of TETFund Centres of Excellence.

Bogoro said there were indices globally associated with Centres of Excellence, especially in bringing about innovation and development, explaining that the two-day event was organised to ensure proper understanding of the concept of the centres by those that will be in charge of them.

While charging the Centres of Excellence in the polytechnics to focus on skills development, entrepreneurship, and start-up, he lamented that most of the low and medium-skilled jobs in the country are being handled by people from Francophone countries.

“For the Polytechnics, the Centres of Excellence are to focus on skills development and support entrepreneurship, startups “In areas of competitive advantage because skills development is central, it is fundamental. If you miss that area, if your polytechnics does not have the capacity to develop skills or the entrepreneurial ability of its students and researchers,  then it has failed the nation.”, Professor Bogoro stressed.

He added “That is the area that has been very worrisome for us each time we reflect. It is very embarrassing that in Nigeria, if you go to construction sites, it has improved recently, believe me, some ten years back,  what you will likely see is Francophone personnel that are at construction sites more than Nigerians.  This shows something is missing, but the polytechnics are trying to address it,” Bogoro said.

Professor Bogoro also said the Centres of Excellence in the Colleges of Education will focus on relevant pedagogical development, disclosing that the beneficiary centres will get about two million dollars.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Muhammad Bugaje, commended Bogoro for his passion for institutionalisation of Research and Development, Bugaje expressed optimism that the creation of Centers of Excellence in Polytechnics by the Tertiary Trust Fund (Tetfund), would go a long way in bringing about the needed synergy to take research findings in Nigerian tertiary Institutions to the level of innovations.

He said the theme for the polytechnics centres of excellence which centers on skill and entrepreneurship development will serve as a direct link towards complimenting the University’s centers of excellence.

“I am already seeing an exhaust between the Universities’ Centres of Excellence and our Polytechnics’ Centers of Excellence. An exhaust that will facilitate the delivery of the research in the Universities becoming innovations”.

He lamented that inspite of the huge investment in Research and Development in the country in the past, there is no technology today called Nigeria, attributing that to failure to gear up research towards an innovations level through development of the research.

He said if research in the Nigerian Universities in the past had involved the Polytechnics, which is the base for technical know-how that can translate the theoretical findings of the Universities to practical applications, research would have been turned into innovations in this country for a long time.

“That is why I said I’m seeing a collaboration that can work out between the universities centres of Excellence and that of the Polytechnics.

“Africa is still lagging behind and continued to be a dumping ground because our researches are not reaching that innovation level, and that is why we need this collaboration.

“I would like some level of horizontal collaborations between the universities and the Polytechnics Centers so that research in the Universities can become innovations, patents can be rolled out and industries can buy those patents and move them into innovations”, Bugaje said.

The NBTE Executive Secretary noted that as the world is currently making skills a global currency of labour, the timing and theme of the Polytechnics Centers of Excellence as centre for Skill and entrepreneurship is a square peg in a square hole.

“There can never be another theme that can be better than this. Everywhere you go, countries around the world are using skills to advance their country.

Expressing dismay over the backwardness in skills acquisition among Nigerian and francophone countries, Professor Bugaje said the situation is attributed to the structure of the Polytechnic Education which has not embedded skills acquisition into it, calling for Polytechnics to refocus and make skills training a central point.

“That is why we said from 2023 NBTE shall never go for any accreditation to any Polytechnic where there is no single skill training programme. So you must wake up because as from 2023 skills must take center stage. I have made skills to be the flagship of NBTE because the world has made skills a global currency”.

Professor Bugaje caution Nigerians against the notion of brain drain rather, a brain flow that would bring huge benefits for the country.

The workshop had in attendance experts from the World Bank-sponsored African Centres of Excellence in universities.

Recall that TETFund  had recently established Centres of Excellence in six polytechnics and six colleges of education.

The beneficiary institutions  selected equally from each of the six geo-political zones in the country are; Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State; Federal College of Education, Pankshin, Plateau State (North Central), Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Bauchi State, Federal College Education, Yola, Adamawa State, (North East), Federal Polytechnic, Kaduna, Kaduna State, Federal College of Education, Zaria, Kaduna State (North-West).

The South-East has Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State and the Alvan Federal of Education, Owerri, Imo State. The South-South’s beneficiaries include Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State and Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, Rivers State while Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and Adeyemi College Education, Ondo State made it from the South-West.

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