The Prickly Ap­proval for New Higher In­sti­tu­tions


The news in town is that the Se­nate has di­rected the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish 10 new higher in­sti­tu­tions across the coun­try. The res­o­lu­tion was made last week af­ter the law­mak­ers adopted the re­port of its Com­mit­tee on Ter­tiary In­sti­tu­tions and TETFund. The 10 new higher in­sti­tu­tions ap­proved by the Se­nate in­cluded one polytech­nic to be lo­cated in the home­town of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State.

The fed­eral law­mak­ers claimed that the es­tab­lish­ment of the in­sti­tu­tions would open up the ed­u­ca­tion space in the coun­try. They ex­pressed the be­lief that the step would as­sist the coun­try in the fight against il­lit­er­acy. The Se­nate also said that the ap­proval for the es­tab­lish­ment of the in­sti­tu­tions was in line with the pol­icy to cre­ate poly­tech­nics across the states.

These law­mak­ers have ob­vi­ously lost touch with mod­ern trends in the de­vel­op­ment of ed­u­ca­tion. How can they be talk­ing about es­tab­lish­ment of new fed­eral higher in­sti­tu­tions when ex­ist­ing ones are wal­low­ing in ab­ject poverty due to poor fund­ing? Are they even aware that univer­sity teach­ers have been on strike for weeks, largely be­cause of poor fund­ing of fed­eral and state-owned in­sti­tu­tions? Are these law­mak­ers say­ing that they are un­aware that univer­sity and polytech­nic teach­ers are per­sis­tently on strike over the poor state of these in­sti­tu­tions? Ex­ist­ing in­sti­tu­tions are poorly equipped and un­der­funded. In­stead of ad­dress­ing these problems, our law­mak­ers want 10 new higher in­sti­tu­tions es­tab­lished. Where will the funds come from? They ob­vi­ously want the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish more glo­ri­fied sec­ondary schools to be called poly­tech­nics.

Well, our law­mak­ers need some ed­u­ca­tion here. The stan­dard in de­cent climes is for gov­ern­ment to pro­vide an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for in­di­vid­u­als and pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions to in­vest in higher ed­u­ca­tion. In this mod­ern era, you won’t hear of the Bri­tish or United States gov­ern­ment es­tab­lish­ing higher in­sti­tu­tions. It only hap­pens in coun­tries like ours that have re­fused to de­velop. Gov­ern­ments in sound so­ci­eties cre­ate en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for the pri­vate sec­tor to do this.

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