Embargo on employment in polytechnics worrisome, say stakeholders
Following Federal Government’s embargo on employment, polytechnics in the country are facing dearth of academic staff, which is generating concerns among stakeholders.
Already, some officials of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the supervisory body of polytechnics in Nigeria, who visited some of the institutions for assessment and quality assurance, said most of the schools failed accreditation due to acute shortage of requisite manpower.
Besides, a top official of NBTE, who pleaded anonymity, while lamenting the effects of the Federal Government’s embargo on employment, said under the normative instruments of the regulatory body, availability of the right mix of staff is a key requirement.
Findings by The Guardian at the board headquarters in Kaduna showed that stakeholders in the sub-sector, including Executive Secretary of NBTE, Prof Idris Bugaje, and Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER) have sent a ‘save-our-soul’ to the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, and Head of Civil Service of the Federation for intervention.
Specifically, the NBTE boss, in the letter addressed to Head of Service of the Federation, lamented that the sector currently suffers from inadequate technical manpower due to government’s failure to replace those who had left service.
He noted that the embargo is affecting existing training programmes. Bugaje warned that if polytechnics were not allowed to replace workers who had left, it would affect the quality of TVET products and prevent them from rolling out of new ones.
In another separate letter with ref No. C/TEB. 201/VOL.VII/80, dated October 7, 2021, and addressed to Adamu Adamu, the minister of education, Bugaje enjoined him to endorse the plea by federal polytechnics to replace workers who had left.
He noted that most of the institutions might lose accreditation due to inability to replace retired and exited staff.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER) in its letter of appeal also expressed fears that the embargo on employment could deprive the national economy of the much-needed technically skilled manpower.
They expressed concern that most of the institutions are static due to inadequate personnel to teach students.
When contacted, Bugaje confirmed the development, which he said was worrisome as the sector risks losing the gains recorded over the years.
Bugaje appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently intervene and categorise polytechnics with health sector, for the purpose of lifting embargo on employment to save it from collapse.