Education summit to resolve issues in Abia Polytechnic opens in Aba
An education summit to resolve lingering issues in Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, opened Sunday, September 20, 2020, in Aba, the commercial hub of the State.
The institution owes staff over 20 months salary arrears prompting the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) to report Abia State Government to the National Human Rights Commission.
The summit expected to last 3-days would feature presentations from different stakeholders and plenary sessions.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, while declaring the summit open, urged all stakeholders in the affairs of the Polytechnic, to take tough decisions in order to reposition the institution and make it more relevant in today’s world.
The Governor recalled the situation of the Polytechnic, by the end of May 2015 when he took office.
According to him, “there was an N2 billion loan, taken by the institution, when I came into office, the repayment of which took N42 million monthly, from the purse of the Polytechnic. This debt service made it almost impossible for the institution to function.
“In a bid to assist the institution to survive, my administration paid off the N2 billion loan to First Bank with no further conditions attached.
“We did this in the hope that the Polytechnic, will bounce back, but over the years, the problems besetting the Institution have persisted, despite the fact that the subvention due to the Polytechnic from the State Government has been paid on a regular basis”.
Ikpeazu observed that the inability of the management of the Polytechnic to maintain stability in the academic calendar has led to a sharp decline in the students’ population, leading to a financial hemorrhage.
The Governor also blamed the flagrant abuse of employment procedures in the institution, as another major source of the disequilibrium in the management of the finances of the polytechnic.
He charged Kalu Osonwa, the new rector of the Polytechnic, to undertake drastic surgical operations in the Institution and ensure that they live within their means.
He also challenged the Rector to build a sustainable academic environment and ensure that only qualified lecturers are hired to teach students.
This is as he also tasked the Rector to be innovative and introduce academic programmes that would respond to the yearnings and aspirations of their environment, adding that the Polytechnic should take advantage of the ever-bustling and commercial environment of Aba, to seek means to remain relevant.
Ikpeazu urged the new management of the institution to conduct an urgent manpower needs assessment in the institution to identify areas, where human resources are critically needed, adding that it makes no sense to have many workers, whose wages the institution cannot afford.
He charged the participants at the summit, which include the national leadership of the different workers’ unions of Polytechnics, to have frank discussions on the way forward and assured that he is personally committed to the survival of the institution and that his administration will continue to provide support to the Polytechnic.
The Governor tasked the Rector to take a cue from the Abia State University, which according to him, has maintained a stable academic environment for five straight years and is today ranked Number 2 in the list of State Universities in the country, in terms of performance.
Osonwa assured the Governor and all stakeholders of his commitment to the re-engineering of the institution and promised to look inwards and find solutions to the challenges faced by the institution.