Polytechnics not fulfilling their mandate- Minister Rauf Aregbesola, Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola has said institutions providing technical education in the country place premium on theoretical rather than the practical and technical learning.

The minister stated this yesterday when he delivered the 27th convocation lecture of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu.

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The former Osun State governor said such institutions have abandoned the mandate they were established to fulfil.

In the lecture, titled: Infrastructural Deficit and Technological Development in Nigeria: The Role of Technical Education, Aregbesola 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, Applied 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.

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“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.”

The minister condemned a situation where graduates acquired what he called bland certificates that do not equip them with life-sustaining skills.

On complaints by polytechnics that their graduates are discriminated against by employers, Aregbesola said this was an indictment on their part.

“Employers, besides the public sector, are rational actors. They want well trained productive graduates who will add values to their enterprise. The test of quality, therefore, is in the field, what the employee has to offer.

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“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.

The minister challenged the authorities to restructure polytechnics and prepare their students for taking greater responsibilities in nation-building.

Aregbesola stressed that for Nigeria to play its historic role on the continent, technical and vocational education must be redefined in the country.

The Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Dr Masa’udu Kazaure, hailed the school management for improving the quality of teaching and learning in the institution.

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