Attempt at industrialisation of Nigeria will continue to be an illusion if there are no technicians to drive the industrialisation bid
Raising this alarm was a former acting governor of Ekiti State, Mr Adetope Ademiluyi, who delivered the 10th annual alumni lecture of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, entitled “The Privatisation and Democratisation of the Nigeria Education Sector: The Dangers Ahead”.
According to Ademiluyi, who was speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, “It is time our universities of technology and polytechnics are encouraged to produce graduates in line with the concept that led to their establishment. We must have mechanical engineering graduates, who can practically fix faulty cars.
“Our agricultural universities must produce graduates, who will take artificial insemination of animals in their strides in the regular day job. Students, who choose to go into these schools should be encouraged with incentives like grants and scholarships.
“We have been copying everything from the Western world and we have a high success rate in corrupting everything we have copied.
“We have copied the exclusivity with the alternative open vista for education finance. Government can start to redress the dangers of the privatisation that has made education to become so terribly and negatively skewed against the poor of the society,” Ademiluyi stated.
He identified population explosion, political expediency, incessant industrial action, cultism, nonchalance of students and teachers, class distinction between the rich and the poor, forceful acquisition of missionary schools by government, and gradual phasing out of teachers training colleges as the bane of formal education in the country.
To provide infrastructure and make the host community developed, he also suggested that private schools be made to pay tax.
He, however, advocated that such taxes be localised for the infrastructural development of the public schools, and the locality which the schools are sited, recommending that “the parent of the children in private schools be made to pay a special levy on each child in the school, which will be a percentage of the school fees of their children.”
Earlier in his speech, the association’s national president, Mr Babajide Bewaji said that construction work on the proposed alumni civic center is ongoing, assuring that “members of the association would collectively proffer attainable solutions to problems affecting students and fellow alumni members alike as we fight the scourge of unemployment with creative innovations.
According to him, the lecture was organised to provide solution to ”mirage of obstructive problems impeding our deserved recognition among the comity of nations in the world. We would continually engage critical stakeholders of the Nigeria project until we see the landmark changes in all spheres of human endeavors.
“Nigeria at the moment is at a crossroad with identifiable ditches of insurgency and internal terrorism, deflating economy, massive corruption in low and high places, deficit infrastructures, leadership cluelessness in strategic sectors, cybercrime outbreak, brain drain just to mention a few. Sincerely, as an incurable optimist and firm believer in God of possibilities, I am very hopeful that we are due for greatness. Though very disturbing that at 55years of post-independence, our education sector remains a crawler. Our concern is stem out of curiosity in the recently released scorecard when none of our over 100 publicly and privately owned universities is rated among the best 500 in the world, with over twenty million (20,000,000) Nigeria children out of school due to inaccessibility; statistics reveals that illiteracy remains high, hovering between 21 – 27% and just three (3) out of every 10 enrolled school children complete their education satisfactorily. More appalling is the bitter truth that no true nation ever becomes great without educational transformation of its citizens,” he revealed.
The institution’s vice-chancellor, Professor Adeniyi Gbadegesin commended members of the association for making the school proud in all their undertakings, noting: “No school can do without its alumni association. They help the school in no greater way and that is why we will not stop at anything to support their initiative.
The chairman on the ocassion, Professor Olubunmi Omotesho, who is the dean of students’ affairs at the University of Ilorin also lauded the alumni’s initiative, adding that he was proud of them.