By Chinyere Nwachukwu
The Principal, Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba, Lagos, Dr Ogochuku Ufoegbune, says the ongoing upgrading of facilities in the 70-year-old institution would accelerate its production rate of middle level manpower for the nation.
Ufoegbune disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos.
According to her, the huge investment in infrastructure and other facilities by the Federal Government and other concerned partners over the years, has contributed to the success stories the college has recorded in fulfilling its mandate.
“I want to say that government, in its bid to encourage and promote technical education and skills acquisition among young people, especially students, has done a lot in terms of provision of facilities, recruitment of teachers and other developmental projects in recent times.
“Given such enabling environment, therefore, the college has been giving its best in ensuring that the purpose for which these facilities are provided is achieved.
“However, having said this, we also want to state that a lot more can be done in terms of facilities, for us to be able to catch up with the 21st century demands.
“We are not excellent yet in terms of facilities but at the same time, we are happy that these facilities are gradually being improved upon by the Federal Ministry of Education.
“We are equally happy that even the private bodies, like the Parent Teachers Association and the Old Students, are also interested in the upgrade of our college facilities and have come in to assist, having discovered that most of the facilities and equipment are becoming out-dated for modern day demands,’’ she said.
According to the Principal, in a bid to ensure the production of all-round and highly competent secondary school graduates, fully equipped with skills, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, recently adopted the institution.
She said that the academy promised to upgrade equipment and facilities and has since commenced work.
“As we speak, the academy has already renovated the Printing Section of the college and they are going to equip it with modern facilities, such as a 21st century equipment for printing.
“They are also working on the Electrical Installation Section by way of upgrading the structure itself and thereafter, would equip it.
“There is no doubt that the college is making accelerated progress in terms of facilities,’’ she added.
Ufoegbune explained that the development would affect the outcome generally, as the college would produce better students, with the use of modern facilities in training them.
“So, we are set to make a difference in the middle level manpower that we are all craving for as a country,’’ she said.
According to her, the college is looking forward to partnering more organisations in order to further improve on the quality of existing structures and facilities.
She said that recently, she made contact with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), requesting for its intervention in the upgrade of other facilities at the college.
According to her, the Federal Government has apart from its continuous commitment in the upgrade of facilities over the years, is intending to expand the college science laboratory as in the 2018 Appropriation Act.
“We are now going to have a two storey building science laboratory. We are also looking forward to having renovations carried out on our technical workshops and other facilities, as well as a general overhaul of structures.
“Already, we are expecting funds to renovate and expand the college assembly hall, in order to ensure that examinations and other academic activities can be conveniently carried out,’’ she said.
On her plans to introduce short courses on skills acquisition for university and polytechnic graduates, Ufoegbune explained that the college had all it takes to kick start the programme.
According to her, the facilities for the six/nine months short courses are fully of standard.
“However, the facilities may not be 100 per cent but to a large extent, we are ready.
“We need a kind of accreditation. We are still expecting officials from the Tertiary Department of the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), to come and look at what we have and get it approved, before the programme can commence.
“We are expecting the accreditation to take place before the end of the year.
“Already, we are intensifying efforts to ensure that this is achieved in 2019.
“It is not within my powers but I will do my best to ensure that the accreditation team is here to look at the facilities, as it is important that the programme is properly handled,” the principal told NAN.
Ufoegbune explained that the programme was designed to equip tertiary and secondary school graduates with life-long skills that would enable them set themselves up and even become employers of labour. (NAN)