The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has asked polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria to enhance their efforts to achieve entrepreneurship and skills development.
Suleiman Bogoro, the executive secretary of TETFund, made the call recently in Abuja, at a capacity building workshop for heads of selected institutions and staff of TETFund ‘centres of excellence’.
According to Bogoro, “There were indices globally associated with centres of excellence, especially in bringing about innovation and development.”
He explained that the two-day event was organised to ensure that the instructors who would be in charge of the centres of excellence and institutions have a proper understanding of what the concept is all about.
The executive secretary reiterated the need for the centres in polytechnics to focus on skills development, entrepreneurship and start-ups. He pointed out the fact that most of the low and medium-skilled jobs in the country are being handled by expatriates from Francophone countries.
“For the polytechnics, the centres of excellence are to focus on skills development and support entrepreneurship, start-up.
“In areas of competitive advantage and you know that skills development is central, it is fundamental. If you miss that area, if your polytechnics do not have the capacity to develop skills or the entrepreneurial ability of its students and researchers, then it has failed the nation,” he said.
Bogoro lamented that in Nigeria almost all the construction sites are managed by expatriates, though he submitted to the fact that the ugly trend has improved recently.
“Some ten years back, you will likely to see Francophone personnel that are at construction site more than Nigerians, that shows something is missing, but the polytechnics are trying to address it,” Bogoro said.
Idris Muhammad Bugaje, the executive secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), commended Bogoro for his passion for the institutionalisation of research and development.
NBTE boss said that Bogoro’s name would be written in gold when the history of the country’s academic community of Nigeria is being written. He charged polytechnics in the country to wake up to their responsibility of producing skilled manpower.
Bugaje frowned at the fact that most major infrastructure projects in the country are being dominated by skilled personnel from other countries.
“There is a need for our polytechnics to be focused on skills training, that is why we say from 2023, NBTE shall never go for any accreditation to any polytechnic where there is not a single skills training centre,” Bugaje said.
Experts from the World Bank-sponsored African Centres of Excellence in universities graced the occasion.
TETFund had recently established centres of excellence in six polytechnics and six colleges of education across the country.