Science and technology are the two concepts of knowledge that make any country stronger and viable and the practical of these two areas of knowledge come from the polytechnics not the universities.
In Nigeria, we are more concerned with getting university degree and forgetting that all a country needs to become developed is practical knowledge from the polytechnics.
On February 8, 2022 the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the conversion of Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) to Lagos State University of Science and Technology. Many people and the government of Lagos State may think that it is a good path of development to toe but looking at the chain of world development through skills, I can say that Lagos State has shortened its prospects.
The intention of the Lagos State Government to convert LASPOTECH and two colleges of education; Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education to universities will reduce the number of Nigerian polytechnics and colleges of education and will increase the number of universities in the country.
A research conducted in 2021 showed that Nigeria has a total of 170 universities made up of 43 federal universities, 48 state universities and 79 private universities. The total number of Nigerian polytechnics is 43; 17 federal and 26 state owned polytechnics.
Professor Idris M. Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has said there is an absolute need of more polytechnics in Nigeria than universities for the country to meet its requirements of artisans, technologists and apprentices.
Polytechnic education create jobs and wealth rather than the thematic theoretical knowledge that university institutions provide.
While universities are research drivers, polytechnics are meant to reinvent and actualise the plain knowledge of universities to concrete products. In a simple term, a university graduate is supposed to be an executive administrative officer to man and supervise polytechnic manpower in actual practical work.
Nigeria can only get out of the woods if it establishes more polytechnics than universities and inject more fund in our polytechnics.
To reduce the massive craze for university education, government should resuscitate our comatose industries to create jobs which are solely meant for polytechnic graduates. Our NNPC, textiles, furniture industries, builders and manufacturers are all meant for polytechnic graduates to produce end products.
It is only in some less-developed countries that universities are given much priority and this is exactly what is happening in Nigeria and is the main reason of the backwardness of some African nations. African countries can do much more if they shift their attention to polytechnic education.
Nigeria is not playing its cards by giving more attention to university education when there are less administrative job opportunities in the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given the world a lesson and is still lashing at African countries because of high dependency on white collar jobs.
Nigeria should gear its effort towards establishing more polytechnics and restore our dilapidated industries to accommodate Nigerian polytechnic graduates. This is what will define the polytechnic graduates as most Nigerian polytechnic students only stand on their own because the places they are supposed to work are not available.
It must be admitted that what Lagos State Government has done is not an excellent move.
Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim, Department of Mass Communication, Kaduna Polytechnic