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Kwara Poly Rector: Science And Technology Education, Key To National Development

The Rector of Kwara state Polytechnic, Ilorin, Alhaji Mas’ud Elelu, in this interview with ABDULLAHI OLESIN, says the much desired growth and development will continue to elude the nation unless

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قديم 10-04-2012, 03:01 AM
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افتراضي Kwara Poly Rector: Science And Technology Education, Key To National Development

The Rector of Kwara state Polytechnic, Ilorin, Alhaji Mas’ud Elelu, in this interview with ABDULLAHI OLESIN, says the much desired growth And Development will continue to elude the nation unless the government prioritises Science And Technology education.

How far has the Polytechnic achieve its mandate?

Kwara state polytechnic, Ilorin is used to be known as Kwara state college of Technology. It was established in1972. It has gone from one stage to the other. It is a State-owned polytechnic as you know And will be 40 years in December. You can imagine the number of people that had passed out of the institution And number of students we now have. You can also imagine the level of maintenance that we have to do to sustain the institution, more so, with fund becoming slimmer And slimmer. Nevertheless, we keep on trudging on, And we are happy that at this point in time, God has put us here to try to improve on what our predecessors did And to see what we can do before we leave. Our plea with media of mass communication is that more importantly when they cover news around us, they should do that objectively, correctly.

That is the fear of most institutions And government agencies when it comes to relationship with media houses. You can imagine that some people still perceive that the school is not doing well. Before, they related the school with cultism that was probably during the past administration. But the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Bukola Saraki came And wiped cultism away with some far reaching measures. Despite that effort, many still have that impression. All we are trying to do now is to project ourselves in good light with our achievements. We try to change the image. We know it is journalists that can help us to do that. And we are ready to partner with any of the media houses in this regard, to show people that we have changed. You can see quite a large number of students on campus. Nothing bad is happening. I am proud to say that in the past two years there had never been any incident of cultism on this campus. If something happens at Elekoyangan, Apata-Yakuba, some people will say it is Kwara polytechnic students. We are not happy about that. People just sit down somewhere And write false reports about us. That is why we have been careful in relating us media of mass communication.

We have been trying to maintain peace on the campus And the polytechnic is coming back gradually to what it is used to be. In terms of entrepreneurship, infrastructure And staff training, we have gone a long way. A number of our staff have acquired computers And computer education. A number of our staff have also gone for conferences within And outside the country. Sometime ago, there was a protest over transformer in the town; they say it was Kwara Poly students. Even if some of the students took part in the protest, it was because they were living in the outside communities. And if you are living in the communities outside, we don’t have control over you. Bad publicity affects us, as NBTE calls us; state government officials call us; our admission is also affected. In the last three years, we have not had any cause to postpone or tamper with any of our academic calendars. Even, if we had been tampered with it, it was for about a week And it was meant to forestall outsiders or public protests spilling into campus. Students admitted now come in And go out at the appropriate time.

Our entrepreneurship centre ranks us among the first polytechnics with such. Quite a lot of projects had taken off in the last two years. A multipurpose academic centre has come up. We are trying to do a mighty And modern library And it is gradually coming up. We have fabricated equipment that had already been made. In our institute of technology, we have set up Technology Innovation And Development Centre. The centre is being set up to showcase some of the things we have. In the last two years, we set up about four different departments to move us away from Humanities to Science And Technology, Leisure And Tourism, Mass Communication, Agricultural Technology, Nutrition And Dietary-Food Technology in the last two years.

We have also built the Mass Communication studio. We are waiting for NBTE to come And see it. If not for the recent Kaduna crisis, they are supposed to be here now. We have a tourism village. We have chief lecturers’ office complex. We have received equipment worth several millions of naira from NBTE And FGN free of charge because of our outreach to them. Information And Technology agencies also donated some equipment to us to improve quality of knowledge And training we impart to students.

We are calling on our old students to provide us with sporting complex, in particular. In the last NIPOGA, we placed ninth out of 41 polytechnics in Nigeria And won several medals despite the challenges we have in terms of sporting facilities. We have also evolved a new security arrangement by which we relate with our village heads. We invite them over from Alangua, Caretaker, Magaji And the rest. We enlighten them together with collaboration of the police. We call them to meetings regularly because our students live in these communities.

What are the challenges facing the institution?

Accommodating our students has been a big challenge. The majority of our students live outside the campus. If we have our way, we would like to have 70 to 80 per cent of our students live on campus. The government cannot single handedly do that. What we did was to go out And advertise a for public private partnership (PPP) arrangement. Unfortunately, only one person applied because of the economy in Kwara State. We are still calling on people to invest in this venture.

Also, old infrastructure is another challenge. The maintenance cost of these machines is high. The one that we can tackle, we are tackling them; we have tackled that of water. We bought a new water tanker to enable us supply each hostel with water in tanks. We also erected boreholes. Electricity problem is another one, which is also a National challenge. We are looking at an opportunity of having a big generator to cover most parts of the campus. Transportation is another area of challenge. We are trying to see how ETF can come to our aid. Also, accommodation in terms of classrooms for our students is a problem, though we are solving that problem gradually.

The government is trying; we appreciate the government. The state government has moved our salary scale from HATISS 50% to 100% CONTISS, which is now a federal government salary scale. That has helped to retain some of the staff who were leaving before. We did this in the last two years. Government also increased its subvention to the institution and, thus, we can do all these, including accreditation of about 17 courses.

How can government use polytechnic education to achieve development?

One acknowledges that products of Nigerian public primary And secondary schools are part of the students admitted to Nigerian tertiary institutions And can best be described as raw materials expected to be processed into graduates.

The polytechnic education should be unique education different from university. It is capital intensive because it should be hands-on, i.e., practical-oriented, entrepreneurship. For you to be able to do that And make the students get practical experience And knowledge, they must have Science background. You don’t just pass the students in the polytechnic; they must have practical knowledge, with right calibre of equipment. Where do we get these students? From these public schools, we are talking about. What are the facilities in these public schools in terms of Science And technology? Nothing. We are dealing with what we have, to uplift them. It takes some time. My advice is that all state governments should lay emphasis on Science And technology. Let them equip our various secondary schools, technical schools with Science And Technology equipment. When they do that, our students would have had some ideas about Science And Technology And it becomes easier everyone here. They develop interest And come up with development. It’s about Development of the country. What we have now is alternative to practical. In our days, there was nothing like that. We did it directly with burette And the like. It’s now only theory. When they come here, they start afresh. We used to do metal wood work, etc. Government should do that because Development cannot come without Science And technology. How? Catch them young; build model Science schools in each senatorial district or one per local government; revive our technical colleges, fund them, equip them. You find out that after the students finish their academic programmes, they would stand on their own.

What legacy do you want to leave behind at the end of your tenure?

That is a difficult one. It is only God that can determine that. Kwara Poly is very dear to me. God has used me to make some modest contributions. And we want to see the school improve in terms of image, technological development, invention, improvement in terms of facilities on what we met on ground. Lastly, I want the institution to maintain And sustain its peace so that students will come in And graduate at the appropriate time. It is God that determines all that so that it will enable one to say one has done his bit to contribute to the upliftment of the institution. Better days are here for artisans in Kwara State as Kwara State Polytechnic has embarked on providing professional training for plumbers, bricklayers, mechanics And the rest.

The institution would soon issue certificates And organise a graduation ceremony for the plumbers after the completion of their training. The training is done on Saturday And Sunday And the certificate would assist the artisans to exhibit their educational attainment And professionalism. The training would also enable them to prepare job quotation And communicate better with big clients.

Plumbing work is changing. When we were young, it was only metallic pipe, but now it is plastic pipe And lots of measurement And calculation. Some of them were not given jobs in high-brow places due to their low level of education. They are here to know how to communicate, how to look for jobs, And how to write proposal for big companies. That’s what we are doing, And they are happy about it. The institution will organise similar programmes for bricklayers And mechanics after the completion of training programme for the plumbers. The artisans would have been better if they had gone through technical colleges.

Now, we’ve cleared a large portion of land for a block making factory so that our students would learn how to make blocks in collaboration with professionals. We need technical education background. We need to go back to the basics, that’s, Science And technology; otherwise, we’ll be paying lip service to development.


Kwara Poly Rector: Science And Technology Education, Key To National Development


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