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.