By Chimezie Godfrey
The Federal government has inaugurated visitation panels for federal colleges of education, and polytechnics in the country.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu did the inauguration on Monday in Abuja.
The Minister noted that the various Amendment Acts, (1993), setting up these institutions, empowers the Minister of Education to constitute Visitation Panels to ascertain the extent to which the institutions have fulfilled their mandate during the period under review.
According to him, the visitations are conducted every five years. The last of such visitations was conducted in 2012, but covered the period 2004 – 2010.
He said that the current exercise will cover a 10-year period, and presented in two separate five-year reports; 2011-2015 and 2016 – 2020.
The Minister pointed out that in the current exercise, every panel is made up of seven members who have wide and varied experience in theacademic and administrative organisation of tertiary institutionsor other institutions in the public and private sectors of theeconomy.
According to him, each panel is expected to review the performance ofthe institutions assigned, in the areas of governance, academic standards, quality assurance, management of finances, and relationship between management on the one hand, and staff and students on the other.
Others include the assessment of the condition of physical infrastructures, as well as instructional facilities.
Also, to advise Government properly on these and other pertinent issues, each panel is to carefully explore the following Terms of Reference.
The Minister added that the panel is equally saddled with the responsibility to determine the relationship between the Institution and various statutory bodies it interacts with, according to its law for purposes of supervision, planning, finance, discipline, guidance, among others.
He further pointed out that it is also the responsibility of the panel to look into the leadership quality of the Institution in terms of the roles of the Governing Council, the Head of Institution and other principal Officers.
This he said is to enable the panel look into the financial management of the Institution over the recommended period and determine whether it was in compliance with appropriate regulations. and investigate the application of funds, among others.
The Minister to therefore urged the Chairmen and members of the panels to adhere strictly with the terms of reference.
He said,”Distinguished Chairmen and members, the task before you isenormous. I urge you all to adhere strictly to the Terms of Reference.
“Your work should be a turning point for our countryin general and our Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
“In particular, I wish to assure you all of Government’s commitment to the full implementation of variousrecommendations that will arise from your reports.
“Each Board is expected to conclude its assignment and submit its reportwithin 60 days from today.
“The Visitation Exercise is not a witch-hunt nor a jamboree forunnecessary and wasteful expenditure.
“It is also not a lawcourt; it is at its core fact finding exercise. The Panelists shalltherefore be held responsible for their conduct during the exercise.”
The Minister stressed that the government has provided seasoned civil servants to serve as secretaries and administrative guides.
“It is pertinent to state that we have provided seasoned civil servants to serve as secretaries andadministrative guides especially in grey areas.
“It is therefore, my pleasure to formally inaugurate the VisitationPanels to Federal Colleges of Education and Federal Polytechnics in Nigeria.
“I congratulate you all on your appointment and look forward to receiving your reports at theend of the rigorous exercise,” the Minister said.