17 November 2009

Nigeria: National Commission For Polytechnics Underway -- NBTE Secretary

Lagos — FEDERAL Government is to create a National Commission for Polytechnics Education (NCPE) out of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to enhance performance and better supervision of the institutions, an official has said.

Dr. Nuru Yakubu, the Executive Secretary of NBTE, made the statement in Kaduna when he received the Chairman and some members of the House of Representatives Committee on Education on oversight visit at the institution.

The legislators were visiting all the 20 parastatal agencies under the Federal Ministry of Education.

He said the NBTE would be split into two to increase the level of monitoring and supervision to ensure better and quality technical and vocational education in the country.

Yakubu said an Executive Bill had been sent to the National Assembly for approval for the creation of NCPE, adding that the National Commission for Technical and Vocational Education (NCTVE) would replace NBTE.

Yakubu, however, expressed concern over the inadequate funding of NBTE and said it was negatively affecting the performance of the Board, especially in the areas of training and projects execution.

He said in the 2009 budget, only N30.4 billion was allocated to the Board and the 21 federal polytechnics out of which, only N1.095 billion was given to NBTE.

A breakdown shows that N26.2 billion was allocated as personnel cost, N2.4 billion as overhead and direct teaching materials cost, while N1.7 billion was for capital expenditure.

He said the 2009 budget was inadequate but that the board was optimistic of getting more funds in the 2010 budget.

Yakubu said that NBTE was the largest tertiary education regulator in the country with more than 400 institutions, including polytechnics, monotechnics, technical colleges and the Petroleum Training Institute, under its supervision.

He said although 80 per cent of NBTE's resources were being spent on tertiary education, the real need of the country lay in vocational and skill acquisition programmes.

According to him, skill acquisition programmes have become an all-comers' affair with every state and local government executing projects with little regard to the regulatory agency.

Yakubu appealed to the Committee to appropriate more funds to the Board in 2010 to enable it to carry out its responsibilities effectively and for more quality service delivery to the institutions under it. Responding, Rep Farouk Lawan, the Chairman of the committee, said he was impressed with the improved budget implementation of the NBTE against what obtained in the past.

Lawan said that in the past funds allocated to the Board were returned to the treasury because of one constraint or the other. "It is only through the implementation of the capital component of the budget that value can be added to the system. "It is only by so doing that we can develop the sector and create the enabling environment to create jobs, grow the economy, develop the infrastructure and ensure peace, security and stability in the polity," Lawan said.

He said the education sector was facing a lot of challenges and "it behoves every Nigerian to play a role so as to reform it. "The Federal Government has already taken steps to abrogate the disparity between Higher National Diploma and degree holders, while both polytechnic and university lecturers will now be on the same level.

"I, therefore, wish to commend NBTE for the initiative of having the vocational enterprises institutions and the innovation enterprise institutions."

At the National Teachers' Institute (NTI), the Director General, Dr. Ladan Sharehu, appealed to the Committee to increase its funding to enable it to execute various Federal Government Teacher training programmes for improved teaching and performance in schools.

Sharehu said NTI would soon conclude the re-training of over 120,000 teachers across the country in batches and zones under the MDGs Programme.

He said the Institute had completed training of teachers in the Northeast and Southeast zones, while similar training was going on in the south-south and the North Central zone and other zones expected to commence soon. The director-general said the institute was spending over N3 billion on the training programme and developing its offices in the 36 states for effective supervision of the teacher training programmes.

He appealed to the Committee for increased funding in the 2010 budget to enable it to effectively discharge its mandate of improving the quality of education through teacher training.

Sharehu appealed to the Committee to compel state and local governments to follow the steps of the Federal Government in the area of teacher training.

He said a committee would continue with the 2009 budget implementation monitoring at the National Commission for Nomadic Education Commission and the National Open University Kaduna Study Center.

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