By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has approved N130 million as ntervention for polytechnics in its 2023 intervention line, geared toward reinvigorating skills acquisition in polytechnics across the country.
Malam Buhari Mika’Ilu , Director of Infrastructure of the Fund, said this at the TETFund/ National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) sensitisation workshop in Abuja on Tuesday.
The workshop was on the 2023 Zonal Intervention on Skills for Rectors and Directors of Skills in Beneficiary Polytechnics.
Mika’Ilu said that the intervention was to consolidate the efforts of the NBTE in increasing the capacities of polytechnics to deliver on their mandate.
He said the intervention was mostly used to support institutions to meet basic requirements for accreditation.
“Funds are allocated in line with the provision of the establishment Act and guided toward addressing critical and essential needs of the beneficiary institutions for the improvement of quality and maintenance of standards in the tertiary educational institutions.
‘“NBTE has been at the forefront in championing the need to have skills in the educational system in Nigeria.
“It is in response to this, that the fund has prioritised the 2023 Zonal Allocation to polytechnics to be geared toward reinvigorating skills acquisition in the polytechnics across the country.
“This is to further consolidate on the efforts of NBTE to increase the capacities of Polytechnics to deliver on their mandate.
“Therefore, the sum of N130million only allocated to each polytechnic has the main focus of procurement, installation, testing, training and commissioning of relevant training materials,’’ he said.
The director also revealed that since inception of the Zonal Intervention in 2016, the Fund had allocated N52,046,079,584.7 as zonal Intervention to enlisted polytechnics.
“In the year 2017, the fund focused the Zonal intervention on student dignity project.
“Hence, the intervention was used to upgrade and standardise all lavatory facilities or provision of new ones where necessary in academic areas of institutions, also shuttle buses (coaches) were also procured for students use among other projects.
“Most recently, the 2022 intervention was used for deployment of ICT facilities within the institutions in line with the guidelines developed by the Fund. This is essentially to increase the capacities of institutions to function effectively and deliver their programmes online,” he said.
He said the intervention, a post-research activity, has created an opportunity for academic staff in Science and Technology Programmes to fabricate equipment, thus promoting skills development in the Polytechnics.
Mika’Ilu expressed optimism that the intervention would in the long run, support the institution to resuscitate skills and improve graduate employability.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, charged rectors of polytechnics to explore innovative approaches to skills development and devise effective solutions that would enhance the quality and relevance of technical education in the institutions.
Echono said that skills development and entrepreneurship represented a holistic process in which individuals in society pursue opportunities and address needs through innovation.
“Today, we recognise the significant strides made by TETFund and NBTE in promoting skills development in our beneficiary polytechnics.
“Our unwavering commitment to advancing technical and vocational education has paved the way for countless success stories, empowering individuals and transforming communities across our great nation.
“The purpose of this sensitisation workshop is to discuss and enlighten participants on two key areas: One is the skills agenda and occupational areas as a panacea for gainful employment of graduates and the second is the formalisation of the informal skills sector.
“By focusing on these aspects, we aim to address the critical needs for aligning our educational system with the demands of the labour market,” he said.
The TETFund executive secretary acknowledged that graduates equipped with relevant skills and competencies were more likely to secure gainful employment and contribute meaningfully to the development of our nation, hence the need for the intervention.
He added that the 2023 Zonal Intervention on Skills was a significant step toward transforming our education system and empowering students and citizens for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Similarly, the executive secretary of NBTE, Prof. Idris Bugaje said that TETFund had been a very active promoter, supporter and financier of skills development in the country.
Bugaje called on polytechnic rectors to key into the formalisation of the informal sector using technology to drive the sector.
He said the N130 million given to polytechnics in the 2023 intervention line would be used for upgrading facilities for skills training, especially as about 10 skills had been identified.
While calling on the government to stop the conversion of polytechnics to universities, said henceforth, polytechnics without skills development centres would not be given accreditation for National Diploma programmes. (NAN)