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EDUCATION:Federal polys lose accreditation over shortage of academic staff

Federal polytechnics are losing accreditation of course because of serious dearth of requisite academic staff following Federal Government’s embargo on employment, The Nation has learnt.

A reliable source at the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the regulatory body of polytechnics told The Nation some of the institutions visited for quality assurance have failed accreditation owing to the acute shortage of requisite manpower.

Under the normative instruments of the regulatory body, availability of the right mix of staff is a key requirement for course accreditation.

Findings by our correspondent also revealed the Executive Secretary of NBTE, Prof Idris Bugaje and the Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER), the umbrella body of Rectors of Federal polytechnics, worried by the development, have severally written a Save Our Soul (SOS) to the Minister of Education and Head of Civil Service of the Federation for intervention.

It was gathered the NBTE boss in a letter with ref No. C/TEB.564/VOL.II/331 dated 10th May 2021 to Head of Service of the Federation, lamented: “The sector presently suffers from inadequate technical manpower due to inability to replace retired staff and those who died.

“This is causing impediments in maintaining current training programmes not to talk of adding new ones”.

He identified some of the new programmes as Railway Engineering, Gas Engineering and Mechatronics Engineering appealing her intervention, warning however ïf the polytechnics are not allowed to do the replacements, it will bring down the quality of out TVET products and prevent rolling out new ones”.eparate letter with ref No. C/TEB. 201/VOL.VII/80 dated 7th October 2021 addressed to Minister of Education, Prof Bugaje requested him to endorse the plea by Federal polytechnics to replace exited staff for the approval of the President.

He cautioned: “Most of the Federal polytechnics shall loose accreditation due to inability to replace retired and exited staff. I would not want us to lower the standards already set.”

The Committee of Federal Rectors (COFER) in its letter of appeal with Ref. No. COFER/SEC/VOL.3/10 dated 5th October 2021 to the Head of Service, expressed fears that the embargo on employment could deprive the national economy of the much needed technically skilled manpower.

While noting that most of institutions are static in academic development due to lack of adequate personnel to teach students, the Federal Rectors pointed out that “NBTE do require polytechnics who are applying for accreditation and re-accreditation of their programmes and courses to meet the required staff-student ratio”.

According to the committee: “The consequence of not meeting laid down staff ratio always leads to de-accreditation of such programmes”, and appealed for waiver which it said will ameliorate the state of manpower needs in the polytechnics.”

When contacted, Bugaje confirmed the development, which he said was worrisome as the sector risks losing the gains recorded over the years.

While appreciating the huge personnel cost, he appealed to President Buhari to intervene and declare state of emergency in the education sector, urging the Head of Service to categorise polytechnics in the same category with health sector for the purpose of lifting the embargo on employment to save it from collapse.

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